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From Grandma’s Album… Memories of Grandma – Random memories by people who knew her.
Grandma Crossed Over on the night of May 1, 2008.
My mother, Helen Picek Bues, known as Grandma in her last decade, was an amazing woman. Starting as a girl who didn’t speak English, she graduated high school two years early and went to Johns Hopkins as an English Literature major, eventually getting a Masters Degree. She taught for more than 35 years in the Baltimore City public school system and retired as the head of the English department in the largest high school in Baltimore.
She loved the Chesapeake Bay, history, writing and reading, our Czech heritage, plants and flowers and gardens, and Shakespeare and was a real stickler for grammar.
She and my father married in 1948 and had 42 good years together, raising me and my brother Dwight, building our house in Hampton, Maryland, enjoying our powerboat, and teaching through the United States Power Squadrons.
After my father died in 1990 she started to decline and eventually “took the Oregon Trail” in her 80th year to spend the rest of her time with my husband, me and her grandchildren. These photos are snapshots of those years. (page not yet live…. https://ancientlightshop.wordpress.com/about/grandmas-album/memories-of-grandma/grandma-in-oregon/ )
No matter how I felt or what went on in my life “grandma” always was very kind to me. Cant tell you how many times she commented on me being a pretty girl(yeah for my ego) and asked me to eat, spend the night or just sit down cause I looked sleepy. We read alot of the same books so always had some hero in trouble to laugh over. I am so blessed to have her as part of my spiritual family and now as a sacred ancestor. Blessed Be!
A memory of Grandma – Independence Day – The last couple of years, after the city had blown off its fireworks, we all retired to your place, and set off our own. Grandma was sitting on the porch steps and every so often we would bring a sparkler over to her and light it for her. The look of delight in her face when they got going was beautiful!
My mother Crossed many years ago, about this time of year, so I understand when you say it’s different when it’s your mom. And since no relationship is perfect, the feelings can be complicated. But my experience is that we muddle thru and forgive each other. We’re holding you tight in our hearts.
Also, I’ll share one of my favorite memories of your mother. We were at your house for some gathering or other. She was sitting with a twin on each side, and they were quite mesmerized by whatever it was she was telling them. Once a teacher…
How blessed Sasha and I are to have known Grandma, and to have been graced by her sweet smiles. That is the memory we will carry with us. May she watch over all of us that she touched in her special way from the Summerland.
I did not know her well but I cared a lot about her and I liked her very much. It isn’t just anyone I gave my hoarded sugarless jam to.
I’m sorry for your loss but have to tell you how impressed I have been over your obvious love for your mother and how much I respect you for caring for her. I understand very well what it entailed having lived with and cared for a grandmother with MS. So many people just stick their elders in assisted living facilities, but it takes true love to do it yourself.
I will always hold the memory of your mother dear… and the lovely letter she wrote to me after the pond party… she touched my heart.
I am so sorry to hear of your loss, but she is in a better place and can walk and run and laugh without pain or worries. I think of my mother walking on the beach with about 10 of our dogs. I know that Grandma must be sailing a little boat and laughing with delight.
Her sweet smile…
Words that apply – love and courage: persevere
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t think of “Grandma” as my grandma… I met Anja in the summer of 2005, and quickly became a part of the family. Over the last three years I have not only helped Anja, but I have also helped take care of her mother Helen, who everybody affectionately called Grandma.
Grandma was an amazingly intelligent woman, even if she was missing large pieces as the years passed. In a lot of ways she began to devolve, returning to a state of innocence and need that we seem to only associate with children. But it doesn’t matter because this state allowed her to see the simple beauty of the world, and she made sure to share it with you. Every flower, every “blue cloud” on a rainy day, she made sure that you saw it as well.
One time at the shop I was making a special blend of incense that required raisins to be soaked in wine… I was pulling the wine out of the fridge (which is right by Grandma’s chair) and coincidentally spilled the cup all over her. It wasn’t a plus that she was wearing her white jacket either! When I realized what had happened, I quickly jumped to apologizing all over myself and ran around looking for something to help her clean up with… But when I finally stopped to look at her, she was laughing!
Eventually after she was a little cleaned up, she looked at me and said, “I didn’t even ask for any.” Every so often one of us would bring it up and we would laugh about it. I also made sure to let her know when I had other bottles of wine in the shop.
On the weekends that I was working with Anja, I was the one who took care of Grandma. I helped her into the house, took her groceries, made sure she took her pills. Every time I was getting ready to leave her house, I would always make sure to ask her if she needing anything else and usually her answer was no. However, she would always reach for my hand and thank me for everything that I did for her. One time after she thanked me I said, “Well you’re my Grandma,” and she said, “Yes I am.”
For the last three years I had the wonderful privilege of having three grandmas, and I wouldn’t trade any of my time with Grandma Helen for anything in the world.
Thank you Grandma, for coming into the life and for telling me that you approved of my grammar. I love you, and will miss you always.
I had the pleasure of knowing Helen here in Ga. She was a wonderful lady.
Page added and published 8/24/18 (C)M. Bartlett
Last updated 8/24/18