WOW Gal Angel
 Clara Bragagnolo aka Grandma Braggs 

Clara was the best mother-in-law a bride could want. 

I met her when I started dating her son back in the sixties.  I loved her immediately.  She was hard-working, energetic, fun-loving, kind-hearted.  

A widow and the mother of four grown children when I met her, she worked as a nurse’s aide in a senior’s residence and since she did not drive and took the bus everywhere..

Clara and I became close friends and we had several adventures together both good and bad.  Shortly before our wedding she decided to buy a car.  Not a problem… Clara would learn.  She chose me to teach her.  

She bought a little green Mazda with standard transmission.  I tried to teach her to drive it  but four days later she returned that little green standard and came home with a little red automatic.  That was better – 
except that the week before the wedding while backing out of a driveway she hit a house. For the wedding the dent on the fender was named “Ouchie".

We drove that car to Winnipeg with her dear friend Sue .  I think we experienced every season in that one week.  It was quite the adventure that unfortunately ended in tragedy but we won’t talk about that here.  

Clara moved to Kitimat, BC shortly before the birth of my daughter Mandy.  She sent me a ticket to bring her first granddaughter to meet her. When I arrived at Terrace, BC airport with my three month old daughter, there was no one to meet me.  In fact, there was no one there.  Clara and Thelma did arrive an hour later. Oh, well, no one is perfect. It was a wonderful month with my mother-in-law, her brother Robert and her daughter Thelma and their family. Too many stories to share in one article. Clara came back to Ontario with me and ended up moving back, thankfully for me. She formed a very special bond with Mandy. It is something I cherished for both of them. Not all grandmothers have that opportunity.

One of Clara’s best qualities was her soup.  She could make soup out of anything and during the blizzard of 77 she did just that.  Her son Gino was using his snowmobile to help people during the blizzard.  He went and got Clara bundled her up in a snowmobile suit against the sever wind chill and brought her home to me.  Good thing.  I did not think we had any food in the house yet she amazingly made one of her wonderful pots of soup – out of nothing! 

Clara was many things to many people.  She was a part of my family forming a friendship with my parents, alternating holidays with us, sharing Sunday poker games and vacations.  To top it all off, when the marriage dissolved, My ex-mom-in-law was there to help me get a place to live, babysit the children and she even gave me dating advice.

There was lots of love and laughter with Clara. She was more than a mother-in-law to me.  She was my friend.  She added a special brightness to my life.  I am so grateful that she was a part of my life. She is truly an angel. 

Contributed by Her Daughter-In-Law & Friend Charmaine Grace, Your Next Step to Possibility



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