Edna May Milligan

I have so many fond memories of my Grandma Milligan. Some recent, some old. She has had a large presence in my young daughters' lives, but they never saw her the way she used to be. The way she was before Alzheimer's. I want to preserve some of my thoughts for them, especially Lucy who was given her middle name, May, as I reminisce about my grandma.

When my family made the annual trip to Utah for summer vacation, there was always a race to Grandma's porch to ring the doorbell. Grandma's house meant playing checkers, lemonade, buying swedish fish from the Island Market, playing on the electronic organ, orange dreamsicles, blowing bubbles on the patio, swinging at Merlin Olsen Park, creamed potatoes and peas for dinner, rocking on the covered bench swing, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and playing Grandpa's card game. Her house was kept impeccably clean and the yard was always immaculate. She was extremely prompt and worried herself sick if we were just five minutes late.

Grandma Milligan happened to be visiting my family in Vernal the night me and my high school friends got caught throwing tomatoes at a house. She had been awoken, along with my parents, in the middle of the night with a phone call from the police. I was uneasy that she would be upset by the incident. The next morning at church, she teased me, "You're in big trouble." She was grinning just like she did the summer that Sam threw a sparkler high up into a dry tree in her backyard. Sam didn't win any points with Grandpa that day, but I remember that same grin on Grandma's face. A grin big enough to indicate that she was amused by the whole ordeal.

When Grandma first found out that Salt Lake City was selected as a possible venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics, she was so excited that she didn't sleep. She prayed and prayed that Salt Lake would be chosen, as she was delighted with the missionary opportunities that the Olympics would create. Her faith was strong and her prayers were always long and very specific, as she prayed for family members by name.

I spent a lot of time with my grandma throughout my college years. At first, I took her to lunch at The Bluebird or The Coppermill on Fridays. Sometimes I gave her rides to get her hair done. Then I started picking up her prescriptions from the pharmacy and taking her grocery shopping at Albertson's. I can still remember her simple list: bananas, roast beef, corn flakes, candy, green beans, applesauce, soup, milk, healthy choice frozen dinners, ice cream bars, hair spray, and batteries. She always seemed to need batteries, which she pronounced bat-tries. Soon Steve and I were preparing and eating lunch in her home every day.

As her Alzheimer's developed, so did her humor; or maybe it was just my perception of it. She loved to laugh about Dr. O'Very's name, saying that he was "oh very strange". And he was much too young to be a doctor. She frequently commented on that tall man (Steve), and how nice he was. She loved to give him an extra ice cream bar, and assure him that she wouldn't tell anyone. She sang the Davis High School fight song and told us how she learned to write with both hands. And Grandma told me that I had pretty teeth. Every single day.

Grandma Milligan lived a full life and was a hard worker. She served as a Wave in the Navy during WWII. She had seven children in just ten years, and she set an amazing record with potty-training. Grandma always spoke highly of other people, especially her children. As her memory was slipping, she worked hard to remember each of their names, who they were married to, and where they lived. She was proud of her sons, declared Kathy the hardest worker, and was always so affectionate when she referred to her youngest daughter as "my Marsha". Grandma was a wonderful mother and grandmother, and I will remember her as a wise steward over all that she was given.


The Ballard's said...

What sweet memories. Thank you for sharing, I think I will go see my Grandpa on my lunch break:)

I love your kids & I was pleased that you would feel comfortable enough to leave them with me.

Jenny said...

Very sweet. One of the main reasons I want to move back is so my kids can know my remaining grandparents. There's nothing quite like the older generations.

Also, your boy is a good lookin kid.

The Millers said...

What a sweet tribute to your grandma, Emily. I really enjoyed reading that. And what a blessing that you will always have these memories of her.

Rebecca said...

What wonderful memories....I'm so glad you posted this. I also really like the pallbearers shot. None of mine turned out so I will have to get you to email me that one.

Jaime said...

What a nice tribute. Your words are so perfect. Funny that you have some of the same memories of your grandma's as I do of mine!

Jill said...

Thanks for posting this....it brought back so many more memories of grandma that I had forgotten!