You have to acknowledge the people who brought your parents into this world, especially if you are thankful for your parents so I have to put both sets of grandparents as my number one choice for deceased people I am grateful for.
The grandparent who I would say we were closest to and had the most contact with was Grandma Bradbury. Now, I never knew Grandpa Bradbury and Grandma Bradbury as a couple. I think they were divorced very early in my life and I do not ever remember seeing together as a couple.
My first memories of Grandma Bradbury are when I was about 4 or 5 years old and we visited her in Southern California. I remember visiting Disneyland for the first time during that visit. I believe at that time she was about 60 years old and was working as a Marshal for Los Angeles County. Grandma Bradbury retired sometime later and I believed moved up to Bainbridge Island and lived in a little apartment in Winslow. At that time our family and the LeRoy’s (my Mom’s younger sister Karen) lived on Bainbridge Island and Steve (my Mom’s younger brother) lived a couple of hours away near the Washington/Oregon border in the town of Longview.
As it was back then, we did not stay long on Bainbridge Island, one year to be sure, and we moved to Bloomington, Indiana. It didn’t seem that much longer after that did Grandma Bradbury move out and live with us. I can’t remember how long that lasted but it didn’t seem like it was very long. And, I am not sure why it was so short. I believe after that she moved back to Bainbridge Island.
As she got older, she decided to move back to her birthplace or at least where she grew up a small town of about 2,000 people in Northwest Missouri, about 30 miles northeast of St. Joseph’s and about 80 miles north of Kansas City. Albany is an old community that is significantly older and poorer than the rest of Missouri. The town is also more religious than most of America as 80% of the population adheres to one religion or another. Most of them (52%) being affiliated with the Southern Baptist (I believe that Grandma was a Methodist her whole life). Albany also appears to be safer compared to the rest of Missouri, having only having two registered sex offenders in its midst, 1 for every 856 people in town.
However, like most rural communities housing in Albany is inexpensive. In 2009, the median housing price was $73,669 and the median rent was $331. In comparison in St. Joseph’s the median housing price was $119,000 and the median rent was $639. Where I live, Carson City a place experiencing a large number of foreclosures and higher unemployment, the 2009 median housing price was $311,000 and the median rent was $895. Grandma Bradbury moved there to live closer to her sisters and she did buy a house. She lived there for a while. I do remember visiting her in Albany as I drove from Provo, Utah to Washington D.C. in the fall of 1993 to start my internship.
A few years passed with this arrangement, but it was apparent that it was becoming harder and harder for her to live on her own especially since her eyesight was going and her sisters being equally old could not be counted on to take care of her needs. So, Mom, Karen, and Steve went out there and helped her sale her house and most of her possessions and helped her moved her back to Washington near where Steve was living in Mukilteo. However, even that arrangement changed as she ended up in living in rest home in Shoreline, Washington and then she moved into rest home at Silverdale, Washington and that is where she lived for the remainder of her living days. In 2004, her 90th birthday was celebrated and all of her children, living siblings, grandchildren, and many of her other relatives came out for the event. Brian Bradbury, Steve’s oldest son, put together and very nice slide show covering much of her life. I learned a lot about her life before becoming my Grandma.
During the kid’s Spring Break in 2007, we got to visit her in Silverdale and at 93 years old she still had it. When we arrived at the rest home the staff pointed us down the hall to her room at the end of the hallway, it wasn’t very long before we could her talking to staff. We spent some time chatting with her in her room. She took some time to show us her scrap-book with many articles about Mom. Grandma Bradbury was very proud of those articles.
After talking for a while, she gave us a tour of the rest home, including the exercise room where she related to us a very funny story about when she first arrived. Grandma said she went into the exercise room to work out and as she sat down to work her arms out she noticed another lady working out too. Trying to be social, Grandma began to strike up a conversation with this lady. After about 5 minutes of talking to this lady, Grandma noticed that this lady had contributed nothing to this conversation and she thought that was very rude. After a few minutes of silence, Grandma realized she had been talking to her reflection the whole time. Grandma Bradbury treated us to meal at the rest home, including at her insistent request the peach cobbler for dessert. I was glad my kids got a chance to catch a glimpse of their Great Grandma’s funny personality and storytelling abilities.
Grandma Bradbury passed away in December 2009. Tammy, Carly, and I got to attend her funeral services on Bainbridge Island. This was not a sad occasion for me. As I looked around at her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grand children everyone was happy to see each other and everyone seemed to have their own happy families. The whole experience was a happy one I think for everyone and in essence the collective cheer I think was a reflection of her legacy. By worldly standards, Grandma Bradbury hardly left a dent in the world, but compared to many of those who achieve worldly success or celebrity at a cost or sacrifice to their family lives, they can hardly hold a candle to the Grandma’s Bradbury’s enduring spiritual legacy of good, happy, and productive children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren all steming from her simple Christian lifestyle that we all got to experience and inherit.