Eleven years ago today, my beautiful grandmother passed away at the very young age of 68. She was a victim of breast cancer...a tiny lump in her breast that was overlooked on a mammogram. She was diagnosed in August of 1998. She died November 11, 1998...a mere three months after being diagnosed.
My grandmother was born Josephine Ann Hockaday on May 10, 1930. She married young, to a man I've never known, my mother's father, Jr. Hickey. My mother is the oldest, followed by my aunt Stephanie. When both my mother and my aunt were very, very small, their father and my grandmother's husband left them, wanting them no more.
My grandmother reconnected with a high school friend, Charlie Czarlinsky. He is who I knew as my grandfather. After my grandparents were married, my grandfather legally adopted my mother and my aunt and he and my grandmother then had a third daughter, my aunt Charlayn.
Together my grandmother and my grandfather ran my grandfather's family business in downtown, Jefferson City. A men's clothing store called, Czarlinsky's. The store was closed for business when I was in the eighth grade...I have many memories of the store such as helping make bows for Christmas packages, walking to Daisy Delight with my grandfather for onion rings, pushing the keys on the old cash register and helping to "ring" up the customers. I remember when my grandparents lived above their store.
What I remember the most about my grandmother was her blue eyeshadow that she wore from her lids to her eyebrows. She taught me how to play tennis at the Country Club, and I begged her to buy me the tiny white tennis skirts that the professionals wore. I remember my grandmother teaching me how to sew, and we made Barbie clothes together. My grandmother taught me how to cook and she made all my favorite things. I remember when any of the grandchildren were in trouble her threatening statement was "I'm going to set you on fire!"...(said in love). I "inherited" my obsessive compulsive disorder from my grandmother, watching her clean her tile floors with a toothbrush. Everything was always in it's spot and never a spec of dust was found in her home. She could whistle through her teeth and her laugh was loud and contagious!
My grandmother was my best friend. She is who I called to cry to when I had my first broken heart. She celebrated my sweet 16th birthday with me when my mom and my dad were at my youngest sister's bedside days after she was born, not knowing if my sister would make it through the night. She called me "baby Betsy" until the day she died. She took me to get my ears pierced (even though my parents said I had to be 16...I was 13)! She let me drive her car in the driveway and the parking lot where she and my grandfather lived. She gave me my first taste of coffee. She bought me the dress I wore when I married my first husband.
She never stopped believing in me, even when I had given every reason for her to not believe in me. She offered words of encouragement when I needed them most. She loved me unconditionally, and she knew me like nobody else knew me....
My grandmother was the most beautiful woman I knew. She was intelligent, she was kind, she was patient and she was full of spirit!
I miss my grandmother terribly.
To my grandmother...I know your view from Heaven is grand! I hope I have made you proud...I know that if you were here you would tell me so. In fact...I can hear you now..."You have pulled yourself up by the boot straps, and I'm so very proud of you!"
I love you grandma!