Saturday, January 31, 2009

Memories of Grandma Anne

Thought I would share what I read at Grandma's funeral...

I’m Amanda Tonagel. My husband Ben is Anne’s grandson. I would like to take a moment and share some of the roles that I saw Anne play throughout the 13 years that I knew her. These memories are just a small glimpse into her full life of 86 years and I know many of you will have more recollections to share.

One of the first things that comes to mind about Grandma Anne was that she was a true Slicer Fan and an overall lover of basketball. She proudly wore and displayed the numbers #12 and #34 everywhere possible. She had them on pins attached to her purse, sweatshirts, signs in her windows, on a giant stuffed teddy bear and even on her car. 10 years ago, at the age of 76 Grandma Anne drove through the night in a van along with a few of the other family members to Florida. She didn’t want to miss Greg play in a tournament game. 20+ hours in a van one way wouldn’t stop her from seeing her grandson.

Going along with basketball, Grandma was a referee’s worst nightmare. She was known for being a little how should I put it, loud at the basketball games. I remember one game where the score was very close and Grandma had a few choice words for the refs. As all of us around her were starting to crouch away and look in another direction she turned and said in a loud commanding voice, “Isn’t that right, Amanda!?!” I’m sure my face turned beet red but I couldn’t help but laugh at her.

Ben’s senior year in high school, he was nominated for a basketball award. When he didn’t win the award Grandma Anne took it upon herself to send a letter to the IHSAA in Indianapolis with her complaints as to why her grandson deserved to win.

As I recall she also tracked down the names and addresses of two referees that in her opinion made a bad last second call at a game in Merriville. I’m sure she gave them a piece of her mind.

Grandma Anne was very proud of her family. During a conversation I was having with Grandma on the telephone one day I mentioned that Ben had passed a difficult test in his Administration program. When I paused I heard her rustling around and she then asked me to give her all the details again. I could tell she was writing it down so she could tell everyone she saw about it.

In the same way, this past summer I gave her a book for her birthday with pictures of Charlie and Sawyer in it. She called to tell me that she had already taken it with her to the hairdressers, the grocery store, church and the Republican Ladies Luncheon to show all of her friends.

Speaking of the Republican Ladies group, Grandma was a strong supporter for the Republican Party. My freshman year of college, she personally sent me my absentee ballot with special notes and instructions in it along with a pre-paid and self addressed envelope. I knew I would be in deep trouble if I didn’t get that back in time. I made sure to call her this past spring when I took the boys with me to go vote in the primaries.

Grandma Anne was a jokester and famous for her “one-liners”. Some of her comments might have offended some but I always thought they were funny because they came from her and it was what I expected. I think I secretly hoped something ornery would come out of her mouth every time I saw her.

She liked to tease Ben when he would come back from hunting and say, “So, did the deer run away again, Ben?“

The first time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. I was a jumble of nerves trying to make sure everything was ready. I realized at the last moment that I had forgotten to make the stuffing. After searching the kitchen feverishly I finally asked if anyone saw the bag of stuffing and Grandma said, “Well yeah, I figured if you were going to make that stuff you would have done it by now so I just hid it in the cupboard.”

When Charlie was born someone came up and was “ooohing and aaahing” over him and said, “Oh Amanda, he looks so much like your dad.” Grandma replied, “Don’t worry; he won’t look like that for long.”

Another classic Grandma moment was when she told all of us how outrageous her Nipsco bill had been that month. She informed us that she had attached a note to her bill that said, “And just imagine what it would be if I was actually warm!” We all died laughing. It got even more funny when a month later Nipsco called her to see if there was a problem. She said, “Yeah, your bill.”

My all time favorite comment from her was when Ben and I had a family cookout and decided to announce to all our friends and family that we were expecting our first baby. As we looked around at all the shocked faces the first words we heard were from Grandma, “Well, you had been gaining some weight lately.” This might have bothered some but I just laughed it off.

Two summers ago she informed me that she wasn’t going to enter the baking contests at the fair that year. When I asked her why she said, “I’ll just let someone else win this year.”

Grandma Anne was an incredible cook and baker. I personally loved her open faced strawberry pie the best. I asked her numerous times how to make a pie and all she would ever tell me is, “Oh you just put some lard along with the other ingredients together.” She wasn’t going to give up her secrets that easily. She finally caved and at least told me how to make apple pie filling.

To Charlie and Sawyer Anne was Great-Grandma. She loved our boys so much and they adored her. Charlie was thrilled to sit on her lap and read story after story with her. She was such a great sport at their birthday parties. She came dressed as a pirate, a cowboy and this past Thanksgiving she wore a pilgrims hat and an Indian headdress. I was looking forward to seeing if she would come as a farmer to our next party.

If we were at the Tonagels visiting and I said, “Let’s go see Grandma!” Charlie’s immediate response was, “And have some cookies!” He knew she would have a few or more often an entire bag of cookies for them to eat and take home.

To me, Grandma Anne was a grandma. Even though I married into her family, I always felt like she was my grandma too. Ben and I had kind of a running joke that when he would get a birthday or Christmas card, it was always signed, “Grandma Anne”. When I would open my card it was just signed, “Anne”. Through the years it started to change. I think Charlie and Sawyer helped bump me up in status. I started to get, “Fondly, Anne” or “As Ever, Anne” one day I finally received a “Grandma Anne”. I didn’t think it could get much better and then one of the last notes I received from her after Thanksgiving was signed, “Your friend, Grandma Anne”.

I am so thankful for all the wonderful memories that I have of Grandma. I am blessed to be a part of her family. Amanda Tonagel January 27, 2008

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anne Mae Tonagel

Ben's grandma Anne Mae Tonagel affectionately known as "Gang Anne" passed away this past Saturday. We are saddened deeply for our loss but know that she is with her Savior Jesus Christ.
She was so special to Ben, the boys and I. We miss her so much already. We only have fond memories of her and for that we are so thankful.

Just a warning that this is a long post but she deserves it. Here are a few of the pictures I have of Grandma from the last few years.

Here is the first picture we have of the four generations: Anne, Hugh, Benjamin and Charles Grady Tonagel- February 25, 2006.

Grandma was so proud to have a Great-Grandson named after her late husband- Charles. Ben has always said how happy he is that Grandma got to see his sons.

Grandma with Charlie as a baby.
For Charlie's dedication at church Grandma bought him this beautiful wooden rocking chair. He loves rocking and reading books in it by himself. Charlie's dedication at church. This is probably my favorite picture I have of Grandma. This shows her real smile. She loved Charlie so much. Here she is with Charlie on his first birthday. She and Grandma Gi Gi joined in the festivities and dressed up as pirates. Great-Grandbaby #2 arrives on July 4, 2007. Sawyer Benjamin Tonagel. I think this picture is hilarious. Both grandmas have the "typical" grandma expression ("ohhhh") on their faces while not realizing that Charlie is actually pinching Sawyer's toes. This is a picture of all the "Grandmas" at Charlie's 2nd birthday. If this doesn't make you laugh, I don't know what would! Here are both Great-Grandmas dressed up at Charlie's 2nd birthday. What party animals! Mother's Day 2008 at our house. Sawyer received his own matching rocking chair from Grandma for his birthday. Now he and Charlie don't have to fight over the only one. Meet Great-Grandbaby #3! Proud parents- Greg and Amy introduce Jace Gregory to Grandma this past fall. For those of you who don't know Grandma she is a die hard Republican. Look at her button in this picture. :) Here is Grandma this past Thanksgiving at our home. She indulged me and the boys and wore appropriate Indian and Pilgrim attire for dinner. :) Here are Grandma's 3 Great-Grandsons at Christmas. For Christmas this year, she and Hugh and Kathy got the boys this wonderful table to match their rocking chairs. This is them on Christmas morning eating at it. I hope they always remember that their Great-Grandma gave them their chairs and table set. She loved them so much. Grandma Anne left a wonderful legacy. She had 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandsons. This is the last family picture we have with her. It was taken this past October.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not Me Monday

Here is a new idea that one of my sister's-in-law (Amy Tonagel) found at . You basically confess all the wacky things you did this past week that you would rather forget or at least not admit but instead post them all for the world to see. Sounds like fun to me!

So hear it goes...

I did not secretly jump for joy when Ben headed off to school the first day back after Christmas vacation. How dare someone think that! I love my husband dearly but 2 straight weeks of him in the house! ugh~

I did not totally give up potty training Charlie and resort to changing his diaper forever. This stinks! Literally!

I did not give my husband the silent treatment for three days straight because he cut Sawyer's hair off while I was gone. Nope not me!

I did not let Sawyer run through the house with peanut butter all over his hands because it was just easier to sit at the table, eat my lunch and pretend that I didn't see him. I would never do that!

I did not sleep late on purpose for 2 mornings just to get out exercising before Ben leaves for work. This resolution stuff is overrated.

I was not actually thankful for the cold medicine that I took the other night since it knocked me out enough that I slept through the boys waking up repeatedly throughout the night.

Anyone want to confess anything that they "Didn't do???" :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Brush 'em! Brush 'em!

I thought these few photos of the boys brushing their teeth together were really sweet. Something about Tooty Fruity toothpaste, two little boys and them standing on their tip toes at a sink make me smile.



Sunday, January 4, 2009

So sad...

Yesterday I was able to spend a wonderful afternoon with some of my favorite girlfriends. When I walked in the door I was met with a very sad scene. Ben had taken advantage of me being gone for a few hours and sniff sniff... cut Sawyer's hair. I seriously started crying right on the spot. I couldn't help it. I was so devastated. For those of you who know me and Sawyer very well, you know that I loved Sawyer's long hair. I think it also fit his personality very well (Junk Yard Dog). I will admit that Friday night after spending the afternoon at a family party I didn't really want to claim him as my child. He looked awful! He was filthy dirty, smelly, bruises all over his poor little face (he falls on everything!) and his hair was all matted. But... none the less he was still sweet to me. I had agreed to get his hair TRIMMED. Not chopped! Apparently Ben didn't believe me. I hope it grows back quickly. I miss all his moppy hair. :(

I took this picture this afternoon. Ben claims he liked getting his hair cut.

Hmmm... highly doubt it!

This was taken when Sawyer woke up from a nap a week or so ago! Hah!
done venting,