Remembering My Grandma Hutchings, 100 Years from the Date of Her Birth

A brief but welcome break from politics….

Nearly three years ago I blogged a tribute to my Grandpa DeGrow (1907-1998) on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Tonight I share a similar tribute to my Grandma Hutchings (1910-2001) on the 100th anniversary of her birth. As I wrote in November 2008, expressing thankfulness for the legacy of my grandparents:

Grandma Hutchings – my maternal grandmother – was a testament to patience and sweetness. She was hard-working, generous with what little she had, and nearly always teeming with quiet joys. And she endured no small share of hardships in her life.

Her father was killed in a tornado when she was a teenager. She left her home in Missouri at a young age and set out on her own for Michigan in the midst of the Depression. Her first marriage was very rough in ways I will never know, yet she worked odd jobs literally to keep bread on the table for several small children. Her second marriage was trying in different ways. My grandfather (whom I never met) suffered from deteriorating vision and eventually couldn’t work.

There’s plenty more, but you don’t need the details to know what kind of a person she was. She worked and worked and worked, and gave and gave and gave – to her own family first, and to missionaries and needy folks as well. Praise and blessing, far more than complaint and criticism, characterized her life.

Grandma had a sweet spirit that – to my mind – can only be explained by her close walk with the Savior. She loved the old hymns. Even as her mind slipped in the long throes of dementia, she would remember the words to songs like “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” and “In the Sweet By and By”. It gave me lots of extra practice on the piano to play for her in those days.

Anyway, my Grandpa DeGrow and Grandma Hutchings (who both incidentally lived to age 90) left deep and lasting impressions on my life. A Christian testimony, and lessons of character, and plenty of fond memories. This kind of blessing could be easy for me to take for granted.

A few other facts: My grandma (nee Robertson) was the third of nine children. Her mother’s family were pioneers in the Land Between the Lakes region of Kentucky. Her father’s family included North Carolina Quakers descended from early New England settlers.

My own memories of my Grandma include the best hugs and cookies (homemade and store-bought), tasty pancakes, and never ever ever a discouraging word. She had many grandkids, and I’m sure all have their own similarly fond memories. Easy to take for granted when you’re young, deeply appreciated as time goes by.

Grandma is missed. But I rest tonight in the confidence that we shall meet again in the place she loved to sing about so much, a place you and I can only imagine but that she now knows firsthand.

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