My grandmother, grandma Alida, lived for a long time. She died about a month short of her 100th birthday. She lived long, but she wasn't well for a large part of that time.
When I was very young she lived on her own in apartment buildings in Portland. I remember going with my Dad to see her. We would walk up to her door. I was maybe a foot tall at the time so I could see under the door, which I did, to watch for her to walk up to the door and open it from the inside. I remember she wore black shoes with maybe inch high heels. There was a window above her door. You could hear her walk with those heels. I guess there were no rugs.
I don't remember much of what my grandmother did for me. She was probably good to me, but, I remember the last time I saw her for a long time. I threw a fit. I didn't want her to take care of me. I probably didn;t want her to be telling me what to do. Stupid me.
It might have been a few months later. My Dad and Mom spoke about how she couldn't take care of herself. She was talking to herself. They were going to have her committed. She was going to a hospital somewhere near Salem. I wasn't going to see her anymore for awhile.
I later came to feel guilty about what I said to my grandmother. I felt I might have pushed her over the edge.
My Dad said my grandmother came from Oslo. She came here and worked hard as a maid and housekeeper. He said she had a hard time because she was an immigrant. An unsophisticated Norwegian immigrant. My grandmother didn't tell me this, but my Dad said, she came to the United States because this was where the men were. I've come to think this is one of the great things that makes my grandmother interesting. It must have been an adventure for her.
My grandma was in this hospital for mental illness for a long time. She left and moved into an apartment in a care center out on 82nd street. My Dad went to visit her there. I didn't go with him. I was going through old letters that I've saved. I found a birthday card that she sent me from that time. I saved the two dollars she included in the card. I had forgotten about it.
Apparently, living in that place and the other one she was in on McGloughlin Blvd was hard on her because the friends she made would die. The losses were very hard.
My parents were divorced in 1970. My Dad was living in Canby. He had my grandmother come live with him and his new wife Patty in their mobile home. They took care of her there for ten years, I think. I went to see her there a few times. My Dad always reminded me that his Mom would remember my name but she would always ask him who he was. He thought she didn't remember him. I told him she was pulling his leg.