In Open Window, I directed my readers to this story that I wrote about my Grandma Anna.

When I was a child, I crawled up into Grandma Anna’s comfortable lap, shut my eyes, and enjoyed being cradled in loving warmth.

I don’t remember ever seeing Grandma walk or stand. She always sat in an easy chair, her chubby body spreading out to fill its worn form perfectly. Her dimpled elbows rested on the chair’s smooth wooden arms.Her house dress was plain and threadbare. It was probably her best dress, maybe her only one. She was painfully poor after my grandfather abandoned her. He left her with a run-down house on a swampy patch of land and too many children to feed. Daddy always said there were seven in the first litter and six in the second.

Some folks in the small Northern Minnesota town made fun of Grandma Anna because she was poor and overweight, but her many Ojibwe friends stood up for her when townsfolk were rude. She allowed her Native American friends to pick her cranberries, then they gave her half or traded for wild rice. Sometimes they borrowed her skillets, then polished them to a high sheen with sand before returning them. They judged a woman by her heart, not by her size or wealth.

My other grandmother’s name was Bertha, but I called her Gram. She was tall and rectangular, solid like a pillar, and made of hard, cold granite. By the time I came along, she had raised all the kids and grandkids she cared to, and her patience for youngsters, even the quiet ones like me, had been used up.

After my grandfather died, Gram moved from place to place, taking turns staying with each of her children until someone would make her mad. Once it was my brother, who innocently asked, “Who has their shoes off?” when, in fact, Gram had just unwrapped a chunk of her favorite Limburger cheese. When she moved out, she took the pungent cheese but left behind curds of guilt for us to chew on while anticipating her next visit.

Gram lived with us when I was four, and sometimes I hung around while she listened to her radio programs. I didn’t mind the stories, accompanied by suspenseful music that made my eyes grow wide, but I drew the line when the Folgers Coffee commercial came on. If YOU like coffee,YOU’LL LOVE Folgers,” said the Paul Harvey-like voice. I couldn’t stand to listen to that commercial, I don’t know why. I turned the radio dial—just for a moment—so that I wouldn’t have to hear it. Suddenly the granite pillar that was my grandmother grew taller and colder, and as she harshly scolded me, I ran from the room in tears.

Grandma Anna was different She didn’t listen to the radio, maybe didn’t even own one. She never raised her voice, either. In fact, I can’t remember ever hearing her speak. She just held me snugly on her lap in that old chair, making me feel safe and loved.

Years later, as I sat in my rocking chair, filling it up just right with my own ample shape, I held my grandchildren the way Grandma Anna had held me. They crawled up into my lap to feel the same protection, contentment, and love that I remember so well from sitting on Grandma Anna’s lap.

She taught me what it means to be a grandmother, and that memory warms me. It brings a smile to my face and contentment to my heart.

I still remember what it was like to sit in Grandma’s lap, but now I know it was just my imagination because Grandma Anna died 25 years before I was born.

After my grandma died, my daddy must have thought of the days when he had sat in her lap; he was only 13 when she passed away. I hope he was able to gain comfort by following his imagination to her chair, crawling up into her cozy lap, and feeling her unconditional love.