The Circle of Aprons: Ida

If you’re following this blog series, you know that I grew up with great-grandparents as a regular and important part of my life. The series (Ida is part 3) is dedicated to the remarkable women whose lives made it possible for me to be here today; whose strength of character and conviction have impacted me in ways I am still learning to understand. Some of those grandmothers were more distant from my life than others, yet their contributions to the woman I am today is unmistakable.

I never knew Ida. She was my grandfather’s mother; the wife of one of my favorite grownups as a child – my great grandpa William. Ida’s people were traditional German-Americans, not far removed from the old country and its traditions. I knew her through the impact she had on her son (my grandfather), who still missed her terribly years after her death; through the devotion my Great-grandpa had for her after she died, leaving him a most eligible, but uninterested, widower in that small town for almost 20 years; and through the unique jewelry she left that sat in an odd, pink jewelry box in my grandmother’s spare bedroom in a dresser drawer for years, and now sits on top of my dresser, that was also once Ida’s.

Ida was not related to me by blood, but I feel her influence regularly, in the bond I have with my own son, in the farm she and great-grandpa made strong and viable so that my sister and I could grow up surrounded by its magic. I wondered about her often as a small child when I would see pictures, or the decorations and knick-knacks in her house that remained years after her death, and that adorn my home today. Ida was always a mystery to me – her story pieced together from stories, knick-knacks, hidden jewelry boxes and the way that the people I knew and loved, and who cared for me as a young child, felt about her. As fond as Great-grandpa was of her, and as much as I loved him for the gentle, kind spirit that he was, I think Ida would have been a childhood favorite of mine, too.

In my understanding of the world, I believe that the energy and the spirit named Ida that inhabited a body on this planet, lives on. For reasons I’m not ready to explore here, I know I’ll see Great-grandpa in the next realm; I’d like to think that Great-grandma Ida will be there, too and that we can catch up on the years we missed in between.

Danke, Oma. Ich liebe dich

This story features a piece of Ida’s jewelry:

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