Best Gift EVER!

A few short years ago, I started a sibling Christmas gift exchange.  The reason was a simple one.  After the death of our oldest and youngest brothers, I just wanted the remaining four siblings to connect.  The idea was to be nothing fancy but should be handmade or recycled or at least had some kind of personal aspect.  We all were living in different places so far away from one another.  Lori in Grand Junction, Mark in Colorado Springs, Robin in Austin and me in Tucson.

blog map The first year I had Mark’s name and made him a calendar with footprints of his grand kids and family photos. The second year, I made Robin an ornament using some of Gram’s old costume jewelry. I cannot say what I did this year for Lori, because it would ruin her surprise!

I loved the gifts that Robin and Lori bestowed on me the previous two Christmases. This year, Mark had my name. Imagine my surprise to see a huge package all wrapped in cardboard and taped together by our front gate yesterday. As soon as I began cutting the tape, I realized just what my gift from the heart was.

Some years back, with the blessing of Gram,  I signed over the deed to her house to her niece, whom I affectionately called Sissy.  This house shared a split deed with Sissy’s home since the day they were built.  Gram’s home was built in the late 1800’s and Sissy’s house built in the early 1900’s.  Gram’s house at 4500 Perry Street in Denver, was the original family home of my great grandparents and was built by my great-grandfather and other friends and relatives.  Years later, in 1906,  my grandma was born in the front bedroom of that little 2 bedroom home, as was my mother in 1927.  To say that this home had sentimental family history that always touched my heart, is an understatement at the very least.

After Sissy passed away, my cousin had both homes demolished.  Gram’s home was nowhere near modern building code and would have been cost prohibitive to bring it to building and safety code.  After the demolition, Mark made the trek from Colorado Springs to Denver and managed to salvage a little 24 inch door for me.  It must have been a difficult thing to see the house gone, but still, he did it because I asked.  I had to hold back tears as I removed the layers of cardboard and packing and tape to discover the door that Mark took the time to grab and then store at his home for several years.

I have so many ideas for this door. Shall I make it into a kitchen table? Maybe a wall hanging? In the meantime, my first instinct was to dress her for the holidays. And here she stands in her glory showing off a new wreath. Thanks, Mark. You made my day. No, not day. You made my Christmas oh so special, and I love you so much for your thoughtfulness. 12 19 2013 3

Grandma Tabor

Marjorie Grace.  Born June 14 1906 – on Flag Day – before there even was a Flag Day!  Born to James Benjamin  Daigle and Mary (Minnie) Victoria Gardner (Daigle) in the family home at 4500 Perry Street in Denver.  A mere 21 years later, my mother would be born in that very same house!grandmataborholdingmomat4500perrystreetdenvercolorado

Gram was the youngest of four children.  Two older brothers died at very young ages (one from an accidental discharge of a rifle and one electrocuted from felled power lines near their home.  She was, admittedly, very spoiled and that carried through until the day she died in 2004.  When Mom would take us to visit Gram in Denver no less than twice a year, everything revolved around her and care was taken to make certain that she did not prepare a meal, wash a dish or vacuum a floor the entire time we were visiting.  When Gram visited Grand Junction, also twice a year, everything revolved around her and care was taken to make certain that she did not prepare a meal, wash a dish or vacuum a floor the entire time she was visiting.  Déjà vu all over again!

Gram’s one and only chore during any visit was to take me shopping.  The famous phrase still rings in my head “we need to buy you a new top!”  Off to the May D&F or Fashion Bar we would go and I would return with no less than 4 blouses each time.  In my much younger days, I received pinafore dresses with layers of crinoline complete with hoop petticoats, matching socks, shoes and sometimes even a bonnet – her word for a hat.  When I was 3 or 4, I was dressed up in a pale pink dress layered with a pinafore.  A pale pink hat was placed atop my head, brand new shiny white paten leather shoes atop the pale pink ruffled socks, AND the piece de la resistance, white gloves.  The dainty kind that just barely covered my hands below the wrist.  I cared not where we were headed when I was walked to the 1952 dark maroon color Chevy with the most enormous steering wheel I have ever seen.  I was only concerned with not scuffing my shoes or soiling my pristine white gloves.  After a short drive, I was out of the car and walked into a big building which was all quiet and hushed-like.  I dutifully sat in the bench style seat next to Gram like the little lady I was.

I don’t know exactly when it was that I realized there was a dead body in an ornate box at the front of the building.  I felt so betrayed.  Why would Gram have me all dressed up in my signature pale pink color attire to bring me to sit on a hard bench looking at a box with a dead person in it.  I should be going to Luby’s for lunch and taken to another store to shop!  Nothing was ever discussed about that quiet day.  But I do know that I learned some grace from Gram that day.

Happy Birthday to Gram who left us in this world to watch over us from another.  I think I hear her voice now … don’t wear that.  You look like a hussy!