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What Makes Her Grand

By Joseph Schany - | Jan 27, 2021

There are very few people in this world I cherish as much as my grandmother, Mary Blake. Having been born the first grandchild a whole seven years before any others came along, I’ve had the privilege to spend countless, uninterrupted hours building a unique bond that continues to this very day.

Yesterday, Grandma Mary celebrated her 83rd birthday. Because of this, I’d like to take a moment to honor a very special, incredibly amazing woman without whom life would be a little less bright and a whole lot emptier, not just for me but for all of the family, friends, students and peers she’s impacted throughout her lifetime.

My earliest memory from childhood is sitting with Grandma in her classic rocking chair, a padded fabric cushion with wooden arms, reading and watching television. I can also distinctly remember how much it hurt, both physically and dare I say emotionally, when I began to outgrow that chair and those wooden arms would dig into my sides. I would never admit it to Grandma though – I cherished the moments I got to spend with her far too much!

In my kindergarten/1st grade years, I lived in Texas. Before Facetime and Zoom, there was a telephone, and I loved to hear her voice. Going the extra mile, Grandma (sometimes accompanied by my cousin, Kim Twait), would record cassette tapes reading stories, singing, or just talking about life in Emmetsburg. I couldn’t begin to describe how happy those recordings made me.

In my formative years, Grandma was my cheerleader, my teacher, and my friend. She taught me how to tell time, and write cursive. Countless hours were spent at her kitchen table pouring over workbooks. Though frustrating, the reward of Grandma’s final stamp of approval was immeasurable.

Grandma attended every game, concert, play, and musical, never once skipping an opportunity to offer gracious encouragement or a chance to lift my spirits (if needed). Come rain or shine, Grandma has always been there, cheering me along, and I love her for it.

Those who know her know just how special she makes EVERYONE feel.

I have a million moments – from garage sales to road trips, random songs at random times (most of which I still think she just made up) to Sunday dinners – every one of them unforgettable.

Happy Birthday Grandma Mary! Thank you for being a part of all the best pieces of my life. I love you dearly!