99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, Here’s to You Grandma

“What does beer have to do with an Education Blog?” you might be wondering…

My Grandma passed away recently, and she just so happened to be 99 years old and a fan of beer, so I figured the title was fitting for a post in her honor.  A beer for every year, right?  Plus, that song is a bit educational since it does teach one to count backwards from 99, so there’s that!  (Not that I would ever use it in the classroom!) It turns out my Grandma was a big fan of education, but I never seemed to take notice when she was alive.

The Eulogy

My cousin, Patrick, gave the best eulogy at the funeral luncheon. My favorite part was how he pointed out that my grandmother’s legacy lives on in her grandchildren. He pointed out that my brother, a graphic designer, is highly creative, and that my grandmother enjoyed crocheting and had a creative side herself.  He also made the connection between my cousin Erin, a food scientist, and my grandmother’s inventive side in the kitchen.  As he was talking, I couldn’t help think he was going have a hard time working me into this speech.  Other than our love of the Guiding Light, I couldn’t think of much off hand that my Grandma and I had in common! And then he began talking about how my Grandma had a love for reading and education, and he recalled how she was always reading us stories when we were little.  He remarked how my Aunt, who recently retired from teaching, told him of a time when my Grandma had confided that she would have liked to have been a teacher, and through us, she was able to carry out that dream!

Wow! This took my Breath Away!

I had no idea, I was stunned!  My grandmother worked in her father’s office when she was young. He was a Magistrate, and once she was a married she was a homemaker, devoting her life to her family.  She never had the opportunity to go to college or study to become a teacher, an opportunity that I was given (thanks to the hard work of my parents and grandparents over the years) that I have somewhat taken for granted.  A principal I worked for in the past would often jokingly say to me (when everything was going wrong) “Remember, this is the job you prayed for”.   All joking aside, I did pray very hard for a teaching job, and now that I have been blessed with one, I shouldn’t take it for granted even on the toughest of days!

Memories of Grandma

My Grandma had the best laugh, and that is what I will miss most about her.  What I loved was even toward the end of her life, watching her great-granddaughters play still gave her the giggles.  My cousin Erin said that I “catch the giggles” just like her.  I never made the connection before, but my parents used to say that I had an infectious giggle when I was little, and I am known for my laughing fits, once I start, I can’t stop!

During the eulogy my cousin Patrick spoke of a photograph we recently found of my Grandmother as a young adult.  When I looked at it, I saw a lot of myself in it, which surprised me, because I never thought I looked very much like my grandmother.  She was very beautiful, even into old age.  I thought she must have been the loveliest 99 year old that ever lived: she didn’t look 99 at all.

My grandma was flawed, as we all are, but I’m hopeful that few of her many positive traits were passed down to me, her giggle, her ability to age well, and her love for education! (I never did acquire a taste of beer, so that isn’t something we share!)

I will leave you with one last memory.  At the end of the eulogy my cousin asked others to share their favorite memories.  My brother told a story about how recently he gave my grandma, who was suffering from dementia, a bit of beer.  She asked him “What goes with this?” and he remarked, “Grandma, it’s a beer, it goes with everything!”   And she laughed! The same laugh he said that my “Grandpap would always get out of her”. My Grandpap had to have been the funniest man that ever lived, and I know that they are together in heaven, and he is making her giggle again! I hope she will watch down on me when I am teaching in my classroom, and that I make her proud!

One thought on “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, Here’s to You Grandma

  1. Darin Johnston

    As someone who’s father, aunt, and grandmother were all teachers at some point in their lives, I like that idea of someone watching over you as you teach. I think your grandmother would be proud of what you’ve become as an educator! 🙂


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