My maternal grandparents, Edmund and Lydia Kemmerer, with their cute little grandson, Dicky Jim.
My Tribute to Grandma Kemmerer
By Richard James Mabey Jr.
My maternal grandmother, Lydia Kemmerer, was a woman of great wisdom. Grandma K also had the gift of intuition. Grandma K could see the heart of people. She could immediately tell if someone was lying or if they were telling the truth. In my childhood, she had an uncanny ability to tell me if a friend was a true friend or not, by just meeting them for five minutes! Simply put, Grandma K was amazing!
During the days of high school and for the first two years of college, Grandma loved to play cards with my cousin Howard and I. We used to play 500 Rummy, most of the time. My dear cousin Howard was confined to a wheel chair, in his battle with Muscular Dystrophy. Especially during the summer months, we would spend hours upon hours playing cards.
Grandma used to come to visit us at the old Mabey Homestead for periods of time. Sometimes, Grandma would come to visit for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks. It was always a joy and a pleasure to have Grandma stay with us.
In February of 1971, Grandpa Kemmerer went Home to be with the Lord. It was a tough time for Grandma. She moved in with my Aunt Bert and Uncle Howard. From time to time, I would go over to visit. Grandma would always do her best to cheer up my good cousin Howard, whenever he got a little sad.
Howard would be sitting in his wheelchair, watching the other children play baseball in the backyard. I would drive up in my old Ford Falcon. The two of us would sip lemonade and eat chocolate chip cookies, watching the neighborhood kids play baseball. It was only natural that Howard would get a little sad.
Then, Grandma would call us in, saying something like, “you boys want to play a game of 500.” That’s the nickname we used to give for 500 Rummy, we just referred to it as 500. Well, after a few hands of playing cards, Grandma would have a smile on Howard’s face, sharing her many gems of wisdom with us. Oh, they were the days!
My cousin Howard went Home to be with the Lord in 1974. Grandma went Home to be with the Lord in 1984. I miss them both very much. They were, and still are, very dear to my heart.
I often think back on those simple days. Of playing cards at the old kitchen table. Of listening closely to Grandma share her cherished words of wisdom. Of simply, being blessed by Grandma’s presence. They were precious days. At the time, I did not know how endearingly precious they were. I look back on them today, with such a depth of appreciation.