Meet Grandma Wilma

I have told you about my Walker named Wilma, but not about the woman for which she was named.

Well, without further delay, grab a shot of Bailey’s and enjoy.

My mom’s mom was not you typical mother or grandmother.

Wilma Bell Hensler was born on November 16, 1921 in West Virginia and the only girl out of 4 children.

She was quite the tomboy growing up and loved her beloved Cincinnati Reds until the day she died.

When she was ready to move out and start life on her own, she boarded a bus, and moved to Dayton, Oh.

It was quite a bold move for her, but she she wanted to live in the “big city”.

Apparently “Big” is relative.

She worked as a legal secretary and did well for herself.

She married my grandpa and they had my mom when she was 35.

My mom is the only child she would ever have.

She adored my mother, but could never really tell her.

She wasn’t one to freely share how much she loved or appreciated you to your face.

However, if she didn’t like you, she had no problem telling you.

Love was not easy for her.

Her 2 failed marriages added to her struggle.

Her first marriage ended bad.

As in my grandpa was married to another woman at the same time.

Umm, yea, that’s a deal breaker.

Her second husband was a self proclaimed “Male Witch”.

Yep, Grandma sure knew how to pick em.

Now that you know about her I will share with you some of the things she did.

I promise, everything you are about to read is true.

She named my mom Christina Sue in case she wanted to be a stripper she could go by Tina Sue.

She used to be a piano bar singer.

When I was about 5 years old I remember her flipping me off from across the room, because she knew I could do nothing about it.

When I was about 9 she taught me to play domino’s and we would play together and do shots of Bailey’s.

YES  – 9 years old!

She had a GIANT poster of Tom Selleck on her bedroom door.

She loved her some Magnum PI!!

She had a sign hanging in her car window that read “Sexy Senior Citizen”.

She colored on eye brows on with a number 2 pencil.

She wore bright blue eyeshadow and hot pink lipstick.

After reading all of these things you are probably thinking, YIKES!!!

Don’t be too quick to judge.

Here is what you don’t know.

She let us sleep over whenever we wanted to.

She let us have whatever we asked for.

She spoiled us rotten.

She came to every Grandparents day festivity our school offered.

She was funny.

She picked us up from school every day for years and stayed with us until Mom or Dad got home from work.

She was wounded.

She thought my mom was the second coming and could do no wrong.

She thought my sister was brilliant.

She thought I was just like my mom.

When I grew from teenager to adult we became friends.

I learned to appreciate my quirky grandma.

I loved going to her house and cooking and cleaning for her.

I loved visiting her at the nursing home.

I am so thankful that I was able to sit at her bedsidewhenshe was unconscious before she died.

She died about 1 month after my miscarriage.

I miss her.

I wish she could have met her grandson’s.

I wish she could see the kind of mother I am, good or bad.

If you are blessed enough to still have your grandma (or grandpa) take  a minute to thank them.

Love them.

Hug and kiss them.

Spend time with them.

Cherish them.

Regardless of all of her untraditional characteristics, I would not change a thing about her.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Susie said,

    Oh Becky, how perfectly adorable! I wish I could have met her – I’m sure she’s thrilled that you thought of her when naming the thing that needs to carry you through this phase of life 🙂

  2. 2

    she sounds totally amazing! I wanna see a picture of the eyebrows! I am sure she would be super super proud of you!

  3. 3

    Jenny said,

    I verify ALL of these facts, although; I don’t think I ever did shots of Baileys because I was afraid I would get in trouble. Grandma was indeed unique. I loved listening to her Englebert Humperdinck cassettes with her and trying to sing along as she tried to play Londonerry Air and Happy Trails on the organ in her house. I also remember her asking us to find out about other kids grandpas or occasionally, for they were prime dating candidates. How could I forget when she would make off color comments (most of her comments fall under that description) about the comotosed men she would walk past in the nursing home? Oh, and did I mention the scandal she created when she would go and live with her boyfriend. We were told not to talk about that to other kids at Dayton Christian. hahahaha She was one of a kind! I miss all of my grandparents for different reasons, but the reasons I miss her are indeed unique to her. In some ways, I have followed in her path and that is a bit alarming. 🙂

    • 4

      Chris said,

      Also of note, I remember being called to the nursing home for “interventions” after mom would tell her terminally ill roommates to “just die and get it over with. No need to cry and whine” She was determined to have a private room and since she couldn’t afford to pay for the whole room, she devised a plan to make her roommates so miserable that they would ask for another room. Despite all the efforts of the nursing home staff, she got her way and kept the room to herself.

  4. 5

    beccy said,

    I am thinking that your gramma explains a LOT about you and Jenny! :o) Thanks so much for sharing! Praying for you tonight.


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