?#4 from My Sister’s Jar – Dear Grandma

Leroy and Eddie NikanderGus and Mary Nikander, Heppner, Oregon Leroy and Eddie (my dad) Nikander c.  1942?  and (my grandparents) Rev. Gus and Mary Nikander  c. 1927?

Write a letter to someone in your past.  Thank them or relive a favorite memory you have of him or her.

Dear Grandma Nikander,

You have been with Jesus now for 14 years – I know because you passed away right after I gave birth to Larisa.

I have many childhood memories of carefree visits to your home in Heppner, Ore.  Your Swedish pancakes were my favorite breakfast that you fixed.  You’ll be pleased to know that Auntie Margaret included the recipe in her church’s cookbook – and gave me one.  So I make them weekly for my kids, who love them as much as I did.  They asked for them this morning.

We ended up having so much in common but I didn’t really discover it until years after you died.  I love family history and would love the opportunity to ask you questions about your grandparents.  I have the family Bible they bought in Oregon City.  It is a treasure to me.  And I’m so thankful that you wrote the names and dates on the backs of all the old family photographs.  (Rob and Christy don’t care about them AT ALL, but I do.)

Three weeks ago Mom had a luncheon for her friends and she used the hand-painted set of china dishes that you made.  That was one long project, to be sure.  It is beautiful.  I used to relish browsing through your shelves of ware and picking out a piece of china to paint at your side.  It made me feel so grown-up to sign my wobbly name on each pathetically painted masterpiece.

I have taken my family to Heppner to see your home and Grandpa’s church.  We went through the museum and read your name on so many items that you donated.  Generous.  I found it comical that the two weirdest items in the whole museum were from our ancestors.  Hmmmmm.  Who in the world used the Ultra-Violet Ray Machine?  And what for?  The other priceless contraption was the multiple-octopus-looking hair curling device that had more wiry black arms than Medusa had snakes. I bet that made your mama look purty.

I think I’m the only grand-kid who cares about the history of the family ~ see, you would have liked me.  It is through your ancestors that blood lineage was traced back to a patriot of the American Revolution and I have become a member of the Daughters. The only other DAR hopeful is my niece, Katelyn.  We’ll see.  There only seems to be one person from each generation interested in family genealogy fluff. 

Last Fall your boys turned 70 and 75.  You would be proud of their dedication to their families and to the Lord.  They have not departed from your training in the way.  The Lord was faithful to his promise. Your five grand-kids have had 13 great grand-kids.  When we adopt our girl from Colombia, you will have 14.  There is not one, sadly, that inherited your dark, curly hair.  Grandpa’s Finish blood ran strong with mostly blondes.

I look forward to seeing you in heaven.

Love, Linda Ann  “The Other One”

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4 Responses to “?#4 from My Sister’s Jar – Dear Grandma”

  1. Jennie C. Says:

    This is beautiful.

  2. Jennie C. Says:

    Austin looks like his Grandpa.

  3. gary Van Landingham Says:

    My name is Gary. I was born again Dec. 8 1948 in the Scottsburg church. Mary hosted a IAH Club to help her two sons and a few more kids learn scriptures and eat Spanish rice. I later pastored 5 churches in Oregon and Washington. When Gus passed I flew up to Heppner and did his service. I’ve got lots of Mary and Gus stories. The most important one for me is that they came to a proverty stricken Valley on the Umpqua and made it possible for me to live forever with Jesus. I’ve introduced thousands of people to Christ all over the world. Gus and Mary knew nothing about my ministry but they get credit for every good and eternal thing God has done in my lifetime.
    1 253 261 9401. gvlham@gmail.com

  4. rixgal Says:

    Pastor Gary, You don’t know what a blessing this was to me to read your comment! I will make sure the family sees it. Praise God for years of spreading the gospel and for my Grandparent’s legacy to continue on through you! I would love to hear more Gus and Mary stories! Thank you for your faithful service! ~Linda

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