Today is my grandmother's funeral.
Here is a photo of the two of us together - a long time ago, obviously!
Probably about the time this photo was taken - before my memory begins - my grandfather bought us penny candy sticks. I didn't finish mine, so it obviously was before my memory begins, as I can't ever remember being able to leave a piece of candy unfinished!
Many years later, on one of our visits to my grandparents' home when I was a teenager, my grandmother brought out the unfinished candy stick and gave it to me. She had kept it all those years! Sad to say, but true to form, I finished off the candy stick then . . .
There are many other memories, but rather than rewrite them, I'd like to share the way my sisters have captured them.
Ann writes . . .
Gramma was real, through and through. In the short times I was with her, I saw that she was her same self everywhere she went and with everyone she met, no pretenses. She delighted in being simple, recycling, yet she loved beauty. Perhaps out of her love for beauty as well as a kind heart and wanting to help the salesperson, she would stock bags full of Avon products to share with visiting grandkids. Bottles of lotion that smelled pretty, practical chap stick and beautiful brooches (I have a yellow pansy) came out of that bag bringing oohs and ahs from us all – but perhaps she had the biggest smile. I don’t remember playing with dolls, but I remember Gramma’s fun when she pulled them out for little sister Jane to play with.
I think it was Mom who taught me to crochet, but I patterned a lot of my early efforts after the doilies I saw in Gramma’s house. Once Gramma taught me how to make mum flowers with scrap yarn, scrap wire and designs cut out of old margarine lids. I think the green flower tape was the only item purchased – splurged on. They are still pretty flowers. Gramma’s yarn went everywhere with her – I am very glad for an afghan made just a couple of years ago, warm and beautiful. The wool quilt from childhood is still a favorite.
Listening to black bear stories while sitting in the big blue and white house was one thing, hearing them when hiking up the mountain behind the house was another, but the excitement and fun in her voice didn’t let me get too scared. Learning about ‘strange’ foods like choke cherries, Saskatoon berries, rhubarb and others that we didn’t have in Bangladesh was fun – I loved what happened to the rhubarb in her oven. I don’t remember whether I liked salads before, but Gramma’s salads with cottage cheese mixed in and special spices was wonderful; I missed it when we left. Everything was good coming from her kitchen; well I have to admit that my Mom helped me finish up the fresh carrot juice when Gramma wasn’t looking….
Gramma loved to tell stories and she loved to hear stories. Visiting at Gramma’s with my sister Barbara while we were attending Walla Walla College, she would quiz us all about college life, so interested in whatever we would share. Visiting with others didn’t mean stopping work, it meant joining in and making it fun. Her packed lunches would last us on a whole days trip back to Walla Walla. Gramma’s letters came regularly then; I remember her sitting in her chair with her Bible or at the table with her letters, talking about the people she was writing to. Stories would flow again, some of long ago days - the time the horse ran away with her, brothers and sisters working and growing up together. In my last visit, I brought two friends from Russia with me. Gramma got such joy out of greeting them in Russian and speaking the words she knew – they loved it!
As I remember Gramma, I see so many talents that she passed on to Mom and that Mom then passed on to her daughters about caring about family, work, attitude, hostessing and especially noticing the little kids. I look forward to the earth made new where letter writing isn’t needed as there are no more goodbyes. The flowers, plants, rocks and animals will bloom, sparkle, shine and sing. We can laugh as grass tickles our feet, hug the black bears, make living bouquets – kids and grown-ups all joining in the joy – the joy of being with our best friend Jesus – the one who gave Gramma hope and joy to share for so many years.
Susan writes . . .
My earliest memories of grandma involve excitement over little pieces of paper carefully trimmed with pinking sheers and outlined in bright colors, notes containing grandma’s stories and love messages. Living overseas while growing up didn’t allow for frequent visits with our Reimche grandparents, but they did grant us special lengthy visits in a vastly different location from everyday lives, permitting these memories to stand out over time. Grandma’s thoughtful notes also helped bridge the distance and passage of time.
Numerous descriptive adjectives float through my mind while thinking of grandma. A petite, active, delightful woman, grandma was what all grandmothers strive to be – someone her grandkids adored.
Creative – Grandma cleverly created beauty from all things, even recycled materials; items others might choose to discard held great opportunities in her mind. She loved to arrange flowers. Her pedal sewing machine worked overtime designing one handy item after another. When she wasn’t sewing, she was knitting or creating other types of handiwork. Gifts created were presented to her dear ones fondly.
Delight and wonder – I can still hear Grandma exclaiming over some new discovery, often outdoors. “Look at this!” she would call excitedly. Amazement in the wonders of creation, in things simple or complicated, in what others accomplished, filled her heart with happiness and spilled over to all those around her. I look forward to experiencing heaven with her; being caught up with her delight in all the new discoveries God has waiting for us.
Resourceful – I have never met anyone quite like Grandma who could figure out all that could be done with what one had available (often minimal) and how to create whatever she needed from what she already possessed. Living where I cannot always obtain what I might need, I yearn to be even half as resourceful.
Energetic – Grandma seemed to have boundless energy. She was ready to tackle the mountain behind her home in Grandview for long hikes. When others her age were slowing down, Grandma (and Grandpa) were still busy from dawn to dusk, hoeing huge gardens, painting buildings, working on the church roof, canning, freezing, and drying food, and expertly attacking any task needing attention.
Humor and story telling – Grandma loved a good practical joke, even if played on her. She’d proudly share the fun of experiencing it with anyone near. And oh did she love to tell stories (a wonderful trait she passed on to my mom)! Household chores, even shelling peas, were a great adventure if you could listen to Grandma’s stories while working. I can still hear her happy voice painting word pictures and chuckling as she related stories from the old “Parent Trap” movie she’d just seen. Other times she regaled us with tales from her own growing up days.
Faith – Grandma had great faith and was faithful to her Father God. Despite a life that contained challenges and sorrows, she’d discovered she could trust God to guide her, to comfort and sustain her. She loved Jesus and looked forward with joy to a reunion with Him.
Time and service – Grandma readily shared her time with her dear ones. She willingly found time to address the needs of her husband, her children, her grandchildren and her neighbors. Self was often lost as she quietly gave her all to serve her family.
A happy heart – Grandma had a special joy in her heart that nothing could take away from her. Whenever she was able to show that joy, it quickly bubbled over to others. It radiated out through her eyes and smile.
Anticipation and surprise – Grandma eagerly looked forward to special events. She lived every day in anticipation of the joy each moment brought. She reveled in planning surprises for others. Often in the kitchen she prepared special treats, healthy but tasty. Apple or pumpkin plachentas will not soon be forgotten.
Grandma was a Proverbs 31 woman in every sense. Now as she lies asleep waiting for Jesus’ voice calling, “Awake”, we choose to celebrate the life she lived and “arise and call her blessed;…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Verses 28, 30.
Barbara writes . . .
Grandma always shared her love of beauty. She shared it in the beautiful flower garden in front of Grandma and Grandpa's house in Armstrong. She shared it with her collections of pretty glass and rocks. She shared it by teaching us grandkids to make yarn flowers and other crafts. She shared it with the doilies and blankets she made for so many of us.
Grandma shared her love of family. When we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house it was 'The More, the Merrier"! There were special gifts for each grandkid tucked into the hidden mailbox in the woods. There were beds made up for each person in all corners of the house. There were talkative gatherings over each meal during the preparation, enjoyment and cleanup. Even unpleasant chores became fun when shared while we listened to the stories Grandma would tell.
Grandma shared her love of God. The Christian education that Grandma and Grandpa wanted and worked for towards for each of their children has been passed down to many of the grandchildren and great grandchildren. They always shared worship with music and with their church family. Most of all they shared their love with all of us.
Thank you, God, for sharing Grandma with us. I can't wait to sit and shell peas with Grandma in heaven for a family reunion meal, talking about what flowers we have planted and what all her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren did with their lives to serve God.
And here is my grandmother's eulogy . . .
Emma (Bechtold) Reimche was the eldest daughter born to Alexander and Katharina Bechtold on September 12, 1912, at Irvine, AB. She went peacefully to rest in the Lacombe Hospital on
Wednesday, August 20, 2008 awaiting the wakeup call of the Lifegiver. She was in her 96th year.
She completed her eighth grade in Irvine and, being the eldest daughter, she was needed to assist in the work around the house and the farm especially helping her parents along with her older brother, George. As a young woman she began working out in homes. She spent a brief period cooking in a restaurant where she was admired for how she could prepare such delightful dishes out of nothing. About this time Ben Reimche saw her letter in the “Home Loving Hearts” section of the kids’ page in the Prairie Newspaper and began writing. He mentioned something about having an older brother, Al. Her sister next to her, Ida, suggested she write Ben and Emma write Al. For the next four years they kept corresponding until Albert proposed and they were married by Pastor Rhoads in the SDA Conference Office located in Calgary. This union was blessed with eight children, six daughters and two sons. She and Albert celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2005. She enjoyed collecting and sharing poetry, stories, rocks, etc.
Emma enjoyed helping out in the Children’s Sabbath School department often telling stories. She had a gift for writing little stories from daily experiences. Some of those stories still float amongst the grandchildren. The family always came first in Emma’s life.
Emma leaves behind six living children: Edward (Marion), Sue (Raleigh Flint), Rose (Herb Stickle), Alberta (John Blake), Darlene, Leo (Cheryl) and two sons-in-law, Ralph Clark and Dennis Burr, as well as 25 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren.
She is also remembered by her siblings: brothers, Irvine (Elaine) and Roy (Rose Marie); sisters, Sylvia Peecock, Elly (Jim Mackenzie), Ethel (Bob Turner); many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.
She was predeceased by her husband, Albert; two daughters, Zella and Edna; two brothers, George and Fred and two sisters, Ida and Anne, as well as three siblings at birth.