What Makes a Great Grandmother?

My grandmother, Argie Catsulis Kleamenakis, was born on November 17, 1932, in New Orleans, Louisiana and was the second of three daughters born to her parents who came to America from Greece in order to raise their family in a better economy. Her father owned Rex’s Luncheonette which was a restaurant on Canal Street, and her mother had to learn how to speak English while raising her children in a foreign country. After high school, Argie went to business college and later accepted a job as a secretary. She loved learning, and she even took nighttime college classes which were unusual for women at the time.

Because the church was such a vital part of Argie’s life, she ended up meeting her husband, Nick Kleamenakis, at a youth group event after the liturgy one day. They had three children, and my mother was the youngest and only girl of the bunch. After having children, my grandmother became a stay at home mom who was dedicated to motherhood. She decided to go back to work as a bank teller after all of her kids were grown. Argie grew up in a very sheltered and religious-based household, which contributed to the unique qualities she has today. My grandmother, Argie Kleamenakis, exemplifies traits of generosity, loyalty, and wisdom which makes her my modern day hero.

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My grandmother displays the traits of a hero through her generosity. I have never heard Argie raise her voice at anyone ever in her life. When she gets aggravated, she keeps to herself and ignores the situation. Besides that, my grandmother is always cooking and offering food to anyone who walks into her home. Her favorite thing to do is bake sweets, and she makes sure to get everyone in her house to try one of her fresh baked goodies before they leave. Argie also volunteers at her church, the Greek Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The church becomes very busy during Greek Fest season, so my grandmother spends hours helping all of the older women hand make the pastries to sell at the festival. There is also a woman at church who cannot drive, and she always needs a ride home. Even though this woman’s house is out of the way, Argie always offers to bring her home and always makes sure that the lady has gotten inside of her house safely before driving away. Because my grandmother has such a kind and generous heart, I consider her my hero. Loyalty is a very important quality that makes my grandmother heroic. Argie is always very sincere and true to her word.

She is also extremely loyal to her husband and was raised to believe that a wife should care for her husband. Argie makes sure that dinner is always on the table at five in the afternoon and that the house is always clean for Nick. Currently, her sister-in-law is old and feeble, so it is hard for the woman to do regular things on her own. My grandmother feels obligated to help out her husband’s sister, so she takes her to places like the grocery or the beauty parlor. One time Argie’s sister-in-law asked her to buy a pack of cigarettes, and my grandmother had no idea what to ask the worker at the counter for since she had never purchased cigarettes before in her entire life. Yet, my grandmother made sure to get the cigarettes, even though she had to do something so new to her.

Furthermore, Argie is honest and fair. Whatever she does for one grandchild, she must do the exact same for the other. Argie’s loyalty is an inspiring trait that causes her to remain kind and devoted to her family and friends. Through her wisdom, my grandmother is able to depict the traits of a hero. When my sister and I were children, Argie would continuously try to teach us our alphabet, numbers, and colors all in Greek, since she can speak it fluently.

She also made sure to teach us prayers and makes us pray every time before we eat or go to bed. Argie makes sure to remind my sister and me how important faith is to our lives. My grandmother also tried to teach my sister and me how to embroidery. She would always buy us small, decorative sewing kits in order for us to practice as she embroidered her own work. Additionally, Argie represents her wisdom through her gardening. My grandmother loves plants, and she is very knowledgeable about the different types of flowers within her garden.

Small actions like these illustrate the wisdom that allows me to call Argie my hero. Generosity, loyalty, and wisdom are three important traits that make my grandmother, Argie Kleamenakis, my hero. Her generosity is seen through small things like cooking for others, volunteering at church, and bringing her friend home. Argie is not required to do any of these things for anyone, but she does it out of the goodness of her heart. Similarly, through her honesty and fidelity to her husband, my grandmother is able to express her loyalty.

With her loyalty comes equality and fairness. Likewise, my grandmother’s wisdom can be seen through small actions like trying to teach her grandchildren Greek, reminding her grandchildren how important faith is, teaching us how to embroidery, and even through her knowledge pertaining to gardening. Argie Catsulis Kleamenakis inspires me to become as selfless, as helpful, and as smart as she is, which makes my grandmother my hero.