Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Of A Kind

Most of you know by now that my Grandma VanSullen passed away about a week ago. I'm not writing this with the intention to make anyone sad or cry, but I wanted to say something at her funeral and I didn't because I knew that I would have been a blubbering, incoherent mess... so this is my way of paying tribute to Margaret VanSullen.

Last Thursday, after I came home from the hospital, Jeff asked me how things were going. As I was telling him the details of where things stood, I realized that the whole family had been together. That doesn't happen very often. In fact, the only time I can remember all of us being together at one time (consistently) is on Christmas Eve. That made me smile because as sad as I was, some of my favorite memories are of Christmas Eve at my Grandparents house on Virgil, in Redford. The whole family would go over there to eat dinner, open presents, visit and laugh, while Mitch Miller sang Christmas carols in the background. The house would smell like mushroom soup, kielbasa and sour kraut and later in the evening, dish soap. To this day, the smell of dish soap reminds me of my Grandpa doing dishes on Christmas Eve (and I love it).  My Grandma would be bustling around in her apron, making sure everyone was eating and happy, while my Mom and Aunts would continually say "sit down, Mom!". Dennis and I would be playing Coleco (that's an old timey gaming system for you youngin's out there) "patiently" waiting to open our gifts. I loved sitting upstairs in their living room, with the lights off and staring at their Christmas tree. I loved that there were always brownies (made by Grandma) and waffle cookies (made by my Great Grandpa) to eat. That night always felt magical to me. Not just because it was Christmas but because Grandma and Grandpa made it feel that way.

Grandma always said "salads always taste better when other people make them, don't you think?" and it would remind me of how when I was little and we would go to their house, she would give me a bowl of vanilla ice cream, covered in chocolate syrup. That ice cream sundae would always taste way better than any other sundae I had ever had. Whether it was because the syrup she used came from a can, or it was because she made it for me, it always tasted better at her house. She always brought shrimp to my parents house for all of our get togethers and she made the BEST cocktail sauce. It was so much better than anything you could buy. And of course, you all know about her brownies. Individually wrapped and filled with love, no other recipe compares to Margie VanSullen's brownies. At the funeral home, there were trays and trays of brownies from people who wanted to show how much they loved her. It was such a fantastic tribute to her and I know she was smiling down on us.

When I was 6, my parents gave me a "Peter Pan haircut". I refused to comb my very long hair (it hurt!), so they chopped it off and I looked like a boy. I hated that haircut... until my Grandma gave me a home perm and made it curly and cute.

She would always feel bad for Chris Osgood (or any goalie for that matter) if they let in too many goals and the fans were giving them a hard time.

One of the first times she held Charley when he was a baby, she said "Ohhh, he's hefty", haha

She was at every single event her grandkids (and great grandkids) were involved in. Graduations, recitals, Christmas concerts, plays etc. Every. Single. Event. without fail and always with brownies in tow to celebrate afterward.

I never once heard her yell.

She loved doing ceramics and we always loved receiving her creations as gifts. The above picture is of the Halloween pumpkins she made us when we were all born. She made me and Jeff (and later, Charley) our very own when we bought our house. It was my favorite housewarming gift and I loved when people would see them and ask "where did you get those!?" and I would reply with "oh, MY Grandma made them". That's right, they were a MVS one of a kind creation. Whenever she would give you one of her pieces, she would laugh and point out small mistakes that she noticed or tried to cover up. Those mistakes were always my favorite part. They are what made them special and unique.

My mom sometimes refers to me as "Little Margie" because I always try to make sure everyone is happy. She never smoked and didn't drink and loved her family with all her heart. If I am to take after anyone at all, I will be more than happy and honored to take after my Grandma.

We'll all miss her hugs and her giggle but we will always, always have the memories she created with us and that is something that I will always cherish. XOXOXO


  1. This was beautifully-written, and I did get misty-eyed. I met your grandma a few times. Nice lady, and her brownies were seriously the best brownies that I've had in my life. So glad that she is/was so special to you and helped make a lot of positive memories that I'm sure you'll pass on to your kid(s).

  2. All I can say Sarah Jeans, is that I love you sooo very much and so does Grandma xo

  3. This is a wonderful tribute, Sarah! It gave me goosebumps. XOXO

  4. Sarah:

    Well done! I will always hold my memories of Margie close to my heart. I so looked forward to getting a Grandma hug at every party and get together, and although I loved her brownies like everyone else who ever had them, i'd have to say I loved the hug even more - and making her laugh, which wasn't too difficult since she always had a smile on her face. This was a great way to honor her and her memory. I'm so lucky to have known her as is anyone who ever did. Love love love.