Remembering Odette


© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
My grandmother, Odette. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

She was a woman whom I admired a lot. My grandmother, Odette. She was the matriarch of the family and everyone wanted to spend time with her: children, adults, and even in-laws. She came from an era in which women were expected to behave as ladies. And she always did. Polite. Friendly. Able to hold a conversation. A woman with a sense of humour and a beautiful singing voice. She knew modern music and opera – singing both to the delight of young and old. She could hold a conversation on current events, and also talk about the past or anything that interested the person she was speaking to. She was the glue that held my family together – my aunts and uncles, cousins, in-laws and family friends. We would do all we could to please her and to make the time she spent with us memorable.

When I began university, I made two decisions: to learn French, and to spend more time with certain people in my life. Ma grand-mère was one of them. With her not only did I practise my fledging French, but I also got to know her as an adult. She no longer was a grandmother, but a friend. I would cook with her on the weekends we spent together: sifting through lentils in search for stones, cleaning the leaves and stems of the Chou-Chou plant so she could cook them, watching her as she created magic tastes in the kitchen. I spent many Friday afternoons with her talking about her past experiences, listening to her advice, telling her my hopes and dreams. Time spent alone with her was magical and I never thought it would end.

I now think of her almost everyday; telling her the thoughts in my mind. I think of things that I know she would have enjoyed. I think of things I know she would have been proud of. I look at the photograph I have of her on my table and know that I would like to age as gracefully as her. She is still a role model to me and I can only hope to live my life out as she did filled with love and a warm heart.

How do you remember your grandmother?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the A – Z challenge hosted by Frizz. This week O has been tagged)

52 thoughts on “Remembering Odette

  1. Sounds like you were very lucky, a wonderful grandmother. One of mine is still around, she is in 90’s now, but I don’t see her, she always preferred my cousin to me, and well, it was too hard.


    1. That is a pity. I know that this is a situation I have placed my children in. They do wish they could spend more time with their grandmother. At least, though, they are ale to speak to her on Skype.


  2. Such a warm, loving tribute to your Grandmother, Colline. How fortunate for you that you were able to spend so much time with her. I saw very little of my Grandmothers, though my Cousin’s Grandmother “adopted” us and treated us like we were her own. I’ll never forget how kind she was with us. 🙂


    1. A surrogate grandmother is just as good. I think it is a wonderful thing to have a close relationship with someone who has experienced so much more of life than we have.


    1. Was she the one who taught you a love of gardening?
      The photograph of my grandmother was taken by a professional photographer about ten years before she passed. It is a picture that reflects what a gracious woman she was.


  3. How beautiful writing for her, dear Colline. I do believe they are a gift for us in this life… This is sure, I wished to meet her too, Thank you dear Colline, I do remember too my grandmothers… Love, nia


  4. A wonderful tribute! I grew up having grandmother living near by, so I probably took her presence a bit for granted … and she passed away when I was in my late 20s while I was then living 3 hours away. … My other grandmother I hardly knew because we were separated by an ocean … but I know she was blessed with much kindness.


    1. I too had a grandmother who lived in another country. Every two years she would take the plane and visit us. How we loved her visits – and the double salted liquorice that she would bring 🙂


        1. If you ever visit The Netherlands, make sure you visit the candy stores. Try salted licorice first as the double salted is not for all taste buds. 🙂


  5. what a beautiful tribute to what sounds like an amazing grandmother. I only knew one of mine, and not well…so I love to hear of people that do know their family well, and appreciate them


  6. Sounds like a lovely, well-rounded woman. This post reminds me of my grandma. Something about how they are aged and still continue to provide their maternal gifts and care is just …


  7. My aunty lived to 105 and I never never saw her get angry or say anything nasty.
    I realise what a wonderful person she was and remember many incidents.
    She was over 100 and I asked her, “Do you remember making me apple pie when I was a little boy.” “I made apple pie for lots of little boys which one were you?”
    I am sure she lives on in the memory of all those little boys.


  8. Wow, Colline. Your tribute to your grand-mere is beautiful. I have an idea for you. Could you please write more about your grand-mere in a short story piece? I would love if you would come to the retirement home where I work. The seniors, many in their 90’s would love to hear this story. I would really like it if you could present this writing to them by reading it to them. Would you consider this?

    How do I remember my grand-mere?

    I remember her not as you do yours. And oh how I do wish that I had the maturity that you had when you were younger. I realize now that I did not appreciate her as much as I could have, although I loved her deeply and enjoyed the time I spent with her as a youngster. It is now that I realize how important she was to me and how much more I miss her now then I ever did before!

    Fortunately I work with seniors and they are a very special group of people to work with. Their generation is unlike any that follows. They understand the art of conversation, they are polite and gracious and full of surprises. It is always a pleasure to spend time with them.


    1. I agree with you – this generation does understand the art of conversation – and they have so many stories to tell. I could spend hours listening to them when they describe the past and the way they used to live. They have so much to teach – and it is a pity that many do not take the time to listen.


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