Freda Allene (Bilke) Winfrey
Born :June 3rd 1930
Died: June 21 2010
Up until I was 18 (1998), I had 2 grandma's, 2 grandpas and 2 great-grandmas and a great-grandpa. And we were close to ALL of them except 1 of the great-grandmas that lived in Kansas. Being the only grandchildren (there were 4 of us) on BOTH sides of the family until I was 17 had it's perks. I have been blessed to have had so much love from all of them, and to have known them all.
Yesterday, my grandma died, my father's mother and probably the one I was closest to. I moved in with her and my grandpa on January 1st 1998 after moving down from Seattle where I had been living for 5 months with my Aunt, and before that from Ohio, where I graduated high-school from but hated... with a passion. They took me in, gave me a room, fed me, clothed me at times and were SO patient with me. I was 18, so young, and had some maturing to do.
My grandma helped with school, the place where she went everyday for 26 years. She was supportive of my church activities and welcomed my friends into her home whole heartedly. She was quick to give me a couple bucks here and there and we went on the greatest shopping adventures. This one time we were walking through Macy's and I saw a shirt I.just.had.to.have. and she asked me if I was going to try it on and I said "No!, it will fit." And she said quite loudly while walking across the juniors department, "Well Toni, (my nickname) I think you should.. your boobies are awfully big!"
She had a rough childhood, life in the 30's weren't good for anyone, especially in Kansas. She was on the drill team in high-school and meet my grandpa there.
(she's the 2nd one in)
(she's the 2nd one in)
I don't know how they got together, grandpa or Papa as we call him says, "She just told me what time to show up for the wedding and I was there"
Then my grandpa was drafted, as most men were and he went off to Arkansas for basic. She joined him there not too much after with their first son, Bruce.
My grandpa and grandma love to tell the story about how she had decided one day to make him is favorite dessert, Tapioca Pudding. So she pulls out her recipe book and goes to town with it. She put's all the ingredients in and starts stirring and is frustrated because it's not turning out they was she thinks it should, so she throws it out and starts another. My papa walks in after work and she's in the kitchen stirring away and crying. He asks her what's wrong and she says, "I can't get the lumps out of this stuff!"
They eventually moved to California, where papa began to drive truck and grams stayed home with her kids. They had my Dad and his twin, Michelle in February of 1955 and she worked hard to be the best mom she could be.
I love this picture, they were going to the Orange County fair and there she is dressed to the 9's in heals! No way that happens today!
And made halloween costumes.
There are some pretty cool stories about the parties she used to throw for the neighborhood kids. When the kids were almost up and out, she started work. She ended up at Cerritos Community College, where she would put the school catalogs together. This was back before computers and I remember stacks of paper sitting around her house with glue sticks and razor blades. She literally put.together. the school course catalogs by hand and sorted the rooms where the classes met. There was not one part of that school she didn't know like the back of her hand. When I started attending there, the teachers would ask me if I was related to her and when I replied that I was, they always had such nice things to say about her.
She was a GREAT grandma. Holidays were always over the top! She worked hard to make sure that we had the best time possible. Christmas's were great. I always loved Christmas time. Not because I got something but because she would take me shopping to buy for everyone else. It was always a fun day, to think about the people we love and to buy them things we think they would like.
She liked Jacob instantly and was always supportive of our relationship. She wanted him to feel like he was part of the family. She was both happy and sad when we got married. Happy for us but sad that I was leaving. She was happy to hear I was going back to school again and always cheered me on in that regard.
She love love LOVED Kira and couldn't get enough of her. She and my aunt showed up before I went to surgery for the c-section and was there the very next day to meet Kira and to give her love.
She wasn't perfect, she had her problems, prejudices and issues. We all do! But I and a lot of other people love her and will miss her more than I can type out in words. No one ever says, " Man, I wish I saw less of that person." We ALWAYS say, "Man, I wish I could have seen her more often." That's how i have felt these last two years being in Nevada. Not being able to go and see her whenever I wanted. Not giving her as much time as I wanted her to have with Kira. I want Kira to know and love her like I do.
God be with you till we meet again; by his councels guide, uphold you; With his sheep securely fold you. God be with you till we meet again.
God be with you till we meet again; When life's perils thick compound you, Put his arms unfailing round you. God be with you till we meet again.
God be with you till we meet again; Keep love's banner floating o'er you; Smite death's threatening wave before you. God be will you till we meet again.
Till we meet, till we meet, till we meet at Jesus' feet, till we meet till we meet, God be with you till we meet again.
You will be missed Grams. I love you and will see you again with our Heavenly Father and our brother Jesus Christ. I know this! I'm just going to miss you until then.
I love you!