Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"Hank" the cat, "Jeanette" the rabbit, and "Henry" the bear

I already posted this on my blog but thought it would be a good idea to post it directly on the KAL site to encourage others to share their memories, tributes, and projects. I believe Amy, my co-host, will be putting her touching tribute here as well, but until then, go check out her blog - her stories are in the true spirit of what this KAL is about!

My tribute stories are more of the dysfunctional variety- but you get what you're born into and so it goes!

I went back and forth about who I wanted to pay tribute to and how to make the tribute special and something I could pass on to the trio that is baking in my oven as I type. I finally decided on making these three stuffed toys to be named after my two grandmothers and one grandfather (my other grandfather will have an actual boy named after him so I didn't leave him out):

"Hank" the cat will be named after my grandmother Henrietta Oudbeir who went by the nickname "Hank". My grandparents all passed on when I was in elementary school so I have few memories of them. Hank was what people refer to as "good Dutch stock" - AKA - big birthing hips, breasts that could serve as a shelf and nurse a small town, and a body meant for farming tulips (this gene code got flushed out with my mom). A Dutch immigrant who was an avid knitter, Hank taught my mom to knit. Hank suffered from some serious cataracts and her color choices for the knitted sweaters she made for me as kid were crazy and in some states, illegal. I would plead for hours not to wear them cause no one in school were wearing box shaped vests in peach, puke brown, and lime green. I wonder why I choose a career as a therapist? I am going to make Hank the cat out of the craziest colors I can combine from my stash and pass my psychological scars to my own children in a less distressing and damaging way.

"Jeanette" the rabbit is a tribute to my grandma Daane. Jeanette was also a Dutch immigrant but because of severe ADHD (this gene code was passed on) would not have been able to sit still for two seconds let alone learn to knit. She was known for being a terrible cook, nervous, and felt daily naps were a requirement to good health - she believed in this so much that she would take sleeping pills to take her afternoon naps while my dad and his siblings ran loose in the city - I tell dad that if Grandma Daane did this today, child protective services would be a frequent flyer in his homestead.

"Henry" the bear is named after Grandpa Daane, another Hollander, who was a laid back, happy go lucky, and gentle guy who founded a butcher shop (this carnivore gene was washed out) that would later become a successful supermarket chain in Grand Rapids. I have the fewest memories of Grandpa Henry but hear that me and my brother have his crinkly moon-shaped eyes when we smile - the only memory I do have is of me crying in my dad's lap after Grandpa tried to entertain me by popping out his teeth. People wonder why I have an obsession with brushing and flossing my teeth and reciting to others "you don't have to floss all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep!"

Please share your stories and tributes - I'm excited to see what others are up to!


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