Elinor Krieger

Dec 7, 1909 - Oct 5, 2004

Gram Krieger was a good egg. In the picture below, I'm giving Gram her 90th birthday present, a rubber chicken. We had a really big, fun party for Gram's 90th.

Gram and I at her 90th birthdayGram was a good grandmother to me... and an even better friend.

Gram was an intense person, a tiger. She was  passionate about so many things: her religion, traveling (Ireland, Vegas), the park, her independence (driving, walking without a cane), playing games/cards (re. winning), Bailey's, her friends & family, "the" Frona, and especially her son.

Sometimes Gram's zeal was not sugar-coated or pleasant. Some people were not into that... it's cool. I realized a long time ago that I inherited a lot of my personality from Gram, and I catch some of the same flak.

I was lucky to Gram-chauffeur for the last decade or more. Man, we had some good times... holidays, dinners, weddings and funerals (the social lifeblood of an octogenarian plus), parties and such. And we'd battle each other constantly. I don't know what I miss more... the laughter or the back-and-forth schtick.

One of Gram's last outings in 2004

You see, Gram was a "proof of concept" for me. She showed that you can be unceasingly intense for 90+ years and do quite well, thank you. She is my role model in this. At 90, I still want to be duking it out and dragging 2 gallon containers of wine and apple sauce of my 3 flights of stairs.

The greatest compliment I've gotten in 43 years... Gram was some number of months into her difficult stay at the nursing home and she told me, "I pray you have someone like you to take care of you when you get old."

On Gram's last night, I dropped by late, after hours, to visit. I hadn't done that before, and I don't know what wonderful force pushed me to that decision. It was quiet and serene as I talked to Gram. She was really out of it, but she knew I was there. I held Gram's hand in her last moments of life as her unique, intense fire gave way. "Love you Gram," I said. I thought to myself... that was a life well-lived. And man, we had some good times.

thanks gram... yow, bill

PS - Alas, I did not inherit Gram's excellent long-term memory. So, note to self:

  • Gift to Ty: golden plastic spoon
  • Bouncing off the carpet at Kauai King
  • Gram's little place in Elmhurst: the train, the stairs, the kitchen...
  • Speaking of Gram's stairs... doing laundry, walking after her hip
  • $200+ slot machine win
  • New friends at her old folks apartment
  • Playing cards (to the death) with Holly
  • Gram's mortal enemy... the landlord, Mr. West
  • Going somewhere every day
  • Gram and Magnolia
  • Calling Frona every night
  • New Year's Eve with the ladies back in the day
  • Sitting in the front yard at Manor Care... Gram-memento and her positivity... her sunglasses
  • Burger King Whoppers... 2-for-1 and "the skillet"
  • The park... me and Brian in Elmhurst, then with Ty
  • That wild red hat that made Gram look like a bird
  • Back seat driver
  • Oh, and Gram "hopping" into the Jeep
  • Gallons of wine in the trunk
  • Gram's maiden name
  • Filtering the Sunday paper so she could carry it
  • Ripping my hair, my jeans, my stubble
  • Buying Gram a turtle or "when are you going to get blue hair Gram?"
  • The nice man/lady at the bank (and prison)
  • Getting cheated while playing Texas Hold 'Em... why!
  • Last books: Seabiscuit, Ladder of Years, short story collection
  • Last movie: Seabiscuit ("not as good as the book"... he he)
  • And finally these Gram-quotes were often accompanied by her patented steely stare:
    • "It must be the nine four"
    • "Are you new to this country?"
    • "Look at himself"
    • "Just call your father"
    • "Oh, you're an angel"
    • "It's my right arm"
    • "It's too long to live"
    • "You need your head examined"

Gram's grave by Ty Krieger