My Feisty Grandma

Grandma Doris is one of the major reasons that I wanted to start Sidetracked Legacies. She was fun and feisty. But she’s been gone since June 2007 and it’s only now that I realize just how little I actually knew about her. If you were on a road trip somewhere, she was the one who you’d want to ride shotgun. She would talk your ear off with information from her ”stories”. She watched afternoon soap operas and could inform you of each character’s life and problems as if they lived next door and she was a very stealthy peeping Tom. But on these road trips, she rarely spoke of herself.

Here are a few of the tidbits that I did glean over the years:

The former Doris Mae Heinzelman was born on October 15, 1919, in Juneau, the daughter of the late Andrew and Anna (Eisfelt) Heinzelman. On May 11, 1940, she was united in marriage to Arthur A. Rettschlag in Clyman. He preceded her in death. She was later married to Lloyd Spinner in February of 1989, who also preceded her in death.

She only got hand-me-down clothes when growing up. Her older sister, Irma, was the favorite child in the family. Special items were purchased for Irma with little thought as to how the item would look on Doris 4 years later.

When Irma graduated High School, the family decided that Doris was done also. This resulted in her only achieving an 8th-grade education. When I asked her what she did all day instead, she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Nothing much”.

Her mother wouldn’t let her cook because she made too much of a mess in the kitchen. So, when she got married, she had no idea how to make an apple pie. She went to a neighbor for help.

Grandpa was 10 years older than she was when they got married. She was pregnant at that time!

Grandma knew a good man when she saw one…When I was dating my husband, grandma was in LOVE with him! She adored his sparkly blue eyes and informed me that if I didn’t want him, she would take him. And she said, “He can put his boots under my bed anytime” and then chuckled.

After grandpa died, she desperately missed dancing and would tell anyone who was interested that she was looking for a dancing partner. Lloyd soon came into her life and they married, But before they were official, he was obviously staying overnight together. Lloyd made a comment about breakfast and my sister Michelle, with dramatic effect, said, “Grandma, Lloyd slept over?” The crimson shade that flushed up her neck and over her face told the whole story.

Once, on the way to mom’s house to help clean on a Saturday morning, she was pulled over by a police officer for speeding down Center Street. The officer asked her where she was going in such a hurry, to which she replied that she was going to wipe up her daughter-in-law’s kitchen floor. He then asked her if she had enough money to pay for a speeding ticket. She answered that she would have to if he gave her one. 

Grandma Doris passed away on the first Tuesday in June. She was supposed to come and stay with us at my house for the summer. We had planned on her moving in on Friday.

Sitting n a lawn chair with a beer, she liked to supervise while I worked in the garden.

She always game to help paint an apartment or help set up card tables for a party.

We played Canasta together and she cheated when she played Euchre.

I miss her. Now that she’s gone, I realize just how little I actually know about her…

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5 thoughts on “My Feisty Grandma

  1. What a beautiful tribute. She definitely was a spit fire ! My parents were friends of your grandparents and we spent hours at their house. One of the litters of pups she had she convinced my mother to let me have one. I named mine Elvis and my friend took a sister and named it Susie.

    • Thank you so much for the comment! I’m glad you enjoyed my memories. I think about Grandma Doris all the time. l was so looking forward to that summer when she was going to come and live with us. My boys were little and she was going to stay with us so she didn’t have to do stairs. Then she passed just days before her move-in.

      Was that a beagle that had the puppies! I think I remember…

    • Grandma Doris was amazing. When she came to help get ready for a party, or decorate an apartment, or clean up the kitchen, she gave it her all and expected everyone else to carry their weight too!

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