Grandma DeeDee

An online tribute to Grandma


Edith Reed works in her pristine yard and garden at her home in Salt Lake City, May 29, 2018. At 100 years young, Edith continues to exercise daily, tend to her large yard and garden and teach piano lessons.

The caption on the picture above was written by the photographer. He visited Grandma in 2018 to take pictures for Utah Life Magazine. I wrote the story and it was one of the best writing assignments I’ve ever been paid for.

I wrote Grandma’s obituary this week. It was a costly writing assignment for the family. Obituaries are expensive. And family said I could make it long. With COVID-19 restrictions, we will only have a graveside service. So that was a little like the funeral replacement.

That, and publishing a website.

Mick will be streaming Grandma’s funeral. We posted information about it in her obituary, but I wanted a place to share the recorded stream as well. I was sitting out in the patio last week. I had my phone in my hand, texting family about obituary things, sitting on the blue couch that was once Natalie’s, and I thought… “I wonder if edith.com is available.” It wasn’t. Nobody’s doing anything with the site. Just some dumb domain flipper bought it, is sitting on it, and hoping somebody really wants it and will pay some absurd price to buy it from them.

Anyway, I checked edithreed next and there it was, unclaimed. I claimed it. I texted my mom. What about a website, I asked her?

We now have a website and I’m pretty happy about it. It’s not perfect, but it’s filled with pictures and memories and information about Grandma for family and friends.

Edith Carlquist Reed | 1917-2020

A few comments on the process, for my own record:

  • Tried searching through Digital Ocean first to host a webpage
  • Didn’t feel like using WordPress that I use for two other sites
  • Asked web guy/friend/coworker Matt if he had a suggestion
  • He tossed out several ideas then said, “wait I know, try webflow”
  • Signed up for free account and started working with webflow designer
  • Works so well and creates really good layout / design using containers and elements inside containers, etc
  • Started designing and needed lots of pictures, too, so scraped through my Google photos and a few other spots
  • Pulled out her old Christmas cards to include some thoughts
  • Had problems setting up a comment page so had to drop that (maybe could add later, but requires a Zapier integration which might also require $$)
  • Grabbed a signature from one of her Christmas cards, pulled it out in Photoshop, then sent to Matt who cleaned it up in Illustrator and sent me an svg file
  • Matt also made my little icons for grit, gratitude, and grin
  • Shared with people on Facebook so I hope it gets out to family and friends so they can read about her!

Christmas 2015: My only regret is that I was busy sorting


Music.

Christmas is about music.

My favorite Christmas traditions include–evolve around, really–music. And one Christmas carol in particular, the peaceful lullaby, Silent Night. Over and over again, year after year, I’ve asked my Mom to come and play an arrangement at church during the month of December. She’s played with me in a Relief Society meeting and in Sacrament meetings. I feel like ward members are unsuspecting suspects of the incredible calm and spirit of peace that are about to float down on them and envelope them in Christmas warmth. Listening to my mom play the violin is therapeutic.

I remember many times, growing up, listening to her play with her own mom, Grandma DeeDee, accompanying her. This was my childhood: listening to mom and grandma play beautiful arrangements. I loved listening to them, and I took their incredible talents for granted. I just didn’t know. But sitting in the living room, listening to them practice Dvorak’s Songs my Mother Taught Me has become a part of my heart.

Grandma DeeDee also plays Silent Night. Her arrangement is a piano solo. Years ago, she sat with me at the piano, with my own copy of the music, and wrote her secrets on it. Perhaps that is one of the reasons that I love this particular Christmas carol the most. Both my mom and my grandma have taken arrangements and made their own additions, writing additional notes in, cutting and pasting even, to make them their very own.

Mom played with me in my ward this year. When I sat down at the piano in the chapel, I realized that grand piano keys are not the same size as the little, skinny keys of my piano at home. I think I held my breath for the first half of the piece while my fingers tried to adjust their muscle memory to the new width. Nobody really noticed, though. They were all listening to the beautiful violin. So was I.

Grandma DeeDee played at the family Christmas party. She plays it almost every year (arthritic fingers allowing). I loved it when we were kids, crowded into her living room, dim lights, listening to her chiming the bells, chromatically playing Silent Night, and sending us out the door into the snow with her love. This year, I wasn’t sitting in the living room, I was behind the curtains on the stage, cleaning up costumes. I regret it. I should have left the mess.

We had the party at a ward because there are so many of us now. We ate corn dogs and salads, we saw family in town for the holidays, and then it was time for the little pageant with her great grandchildren. Grandma put me in charge of this every year and every year, I am sure that it will be a flop, but every year, the kids are adorable in their makeshift costumes, sitting on stage for a short script reminding us of the story from the Bible.

FamilyNativity

After the kids were done, they all ran backstage, we closed the curtains, and their costumes landed in heaps as they ran off to play. I started sorting through them, putting them in the box or the bag. I didn’t want to lose things so I had to get it done right then, right? For some reason, I felt some immediacy to sorting the mess so when I heard the piano sounds of Grandma playing, when they came slightly muffled through the thick curtains, I only half listened.

Grandma is 98. Did I mention that?

Last year, one of my mom’s cousins took a video of her playing at their family party. He shared it on YouTube so I can embed it and share it here. Listening through the computer isn’t the same as listening while curled up in her warm living room, but I can’t invite you to the family parties of my past.

Next year, I’m going to drop everything to sit at Grandma’s feet and listen to her play.

When Was The Last Time Your Grandma Was Interviewed for the Paper?


The Deseret News wrote up an article about my Grandma DeeDee: 94 Years and 88 Keys Add Up To One Great Lady.

I’m spoiled, I tell you. Not everybody gets to grow up nearby both of their Grandmas, and both are such incredible women. I was one lucky little girl to get piano lessons from my Grandma DeeDee. I remember her using her fingers like a curling iron on my fingers to teach me how to play with my fingers properly bent. And when I learned to play a waltz, she got up off of the piano bench next to me and danced around the room. You tell me if you were lucky enough to have a piano teacher that study at Columbia and Julliard, hmm? That’s what I thought.

And that’s just Grandma DeeDee. I could tell oodles of stories about Grumma Campbell, too. How about a list instead? Super!

Larrie’s Blessings from Grandma and Grumma:

  • Playing dress up at Grumma’s
  • Grandma’s garden with a rock waterfall, a gazebo, bird baths, a gong, and always beautiful
  • Picking apples from Grumma’s apple tree
  • Playing house in Grandma’s basement bedrooms with a closet secret passageway
  • Swimming at Grumma’s
  • Piano recitals in Grandma’s living room
  • Birthday texts from Grumma
  • Easter brunches at Grandma’s
  • Christmas lunches with Grumma
  • Grandma’s rolls–mmmm, lard
  • Grumma’s pecan logs!
  • Doing the crossword with Grandma while waiting for a concert to start
  • Eating dinner with Grumma the day the tornado came through Salt Lake

And on and on, but I’ll stop there. I love my Grandmas! What memories do you cherish with your grandparents?