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Love and Laundry

alec vanderboom

Last Sunday, my daughter sat in a church pew in front of a dear friend of my grandma, Mrs. Kelso. In passing, I told Mrs. Kelso that my daughter was sad she never met "Grandma Jean" because they are so much alike--two party girls who love Jesus and pretty shoes.

Mrs. Kelso said "That Jean was a sharp dresser! Of course, your grandpa kept all of her clothes in tip top condition."

I gave a confused look. My grandpa was born in 1917 and was totally old school in the line between women's housework and men's work. After grandma got Alzheimer's, my grandpa tried to take over the housework. Grandpa ruined load after load of clothes by accidentally adding bleach to colored loads and other such laundry mishaps.

That's when Mrs. Kelso told me that when my grandmother started suffering from advancing Alzheimer's disease and could no longer handle the laundry, then my grandfather asked his neighbor, Mrs.Kelso for help. Every Thursday morning my grandfather would walk my grandma's pile of delicate laundry down three houses for Mrs. Kelso to wash for him.

Mrs. Kelso told me "He asked me to do her pretty things when Jean started getting so sick from Alzheimer's. It was my JOY to do that for her."

This new story about my grandparents made me cry. A friend saying that it was a JOY to do a sick friend's wash. My grandfather's total humility in asking a neighbor to do his family's wash.

My grandfather could have dressed his Jeanie in some easy to care for cotton sweatshirts at that last stage of her life. At that stage, my grandma wouldn't have know the difference. Instead, my grandpa insisted that his wife keep up her love of pretty, fussy clothes, even if that meant extra work and humiliation for him.

Married life is so beautiful!