Reality star Erin Napier got candid about her relationship with her late beloved grandmother in an exclusive written piece this week on Southern Living.
“HGTV” star Erin Napier talked about the special bond with her late grandma a year after her death. Erin now keeps her grandparent’s memory alive by creating something to pass down.
In a written piece for Southern Living, the 35-year-old shared how her grandmother Ouida Walters Rasberry kept the dented aluminum biscuit bowl in one of her two tiny closet pantries.
Erin Napier attends Build Series at Build Studio on January 08, 2020 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
Napier said her grandma used to eat collards and eggs fried from a metal canister stamped with the word “grease” daily until she was 97.
When Erin was in high school, she asked grandma to teach her the secrets of biscuit making. She said her grandmother pulled out the dented aluminum bowl and poured a few cups of Martha White self-rising flour into it.
“Her instructions weren’t quantifiable: ‘Put in the buttermilk until it looks about like this,’” Erin wrote. From there on, she jotted down her estimates so she would have proof.
Napier's grandmother also taught her two of her most beloved dishes: spicy rice and tomato gravy. She always served the rice on Sunday.
“But in January 2008, she suffered a stroke that stole the words from her mouth and memories from her mind,” Erin shared. At the time, she was a recent Mississippi State University graduate and was engaged to be married.
“As I was about to become a wife, I realized how badly I wanted to know all of those untold recipes. I felt a new wave of grief in realizing that chance was gone, even if we still had her with us,” she said.
However, in May 2020, her grandmother passed away. A few weeks after her death, Erin’s father gave away her grandmother's belongings to Goodwill.
She then scanned the recipes one by one onto the computer and compiled them into a chapter book of her favorite dishes, “along with tips she had clipped from magazines.”
THE GRIEVING PROCESS
After the passing of her grandmother, she shared the news on social media and penned a heartfelt tribute to her on Instagram, and went on to write:
"My grandfather passed in 2001, and for 19 years, she lived without him. I’m so happy that he’s shouting, ‘here she comes!’ today, even if my heart is broken for us without her. My Mother Goose.”
She shared two vintage pictures of her grandparents along with the post but did not disclose any further details about her grandmother's passing.
Erin also posted a photo of herself wearing a family heirloom that belonged to the late family matriarch to her Instagram Story.
In June 2020, Erin broke down in tears after discovering that she had an unexpected personal connection to the historic apartment that she and her husband, Ben Napier, had begun renovating in downtown Laurel.
After she spoke to her father's cousin Kent, Erin learned that her grandmother and her grandmother's sister lived in the home together – and it was where her grandmother resided when she began dating Erin's grandfather in the 1950s.
“I have never heard this in my life,” Erin said at the time, of the surprising connection. “I’ve had so much fun renovating this house, but I had no idea I had a personal connection to it,” she added.
Since then, Erin has decided to keep her grandmother's memory alive and created a cookbook filled with her old handwritten recipes.
She opened up about the special connection she built with her in the kitchen. “I took for granted that we would have time to cook like this again," she divulged.
BEING A PARENT
Today, Erin is a mom to two kids whom she shares with her loving husband, Ben. The couple's first child is 3-year-old daughter Helen, whom they welcomed in January 2018, ten years after they walked down the aisle.
The pair recently became parents once again as they welcomed another daughter named Mae on May 28. Last month, Erin took to Instagram to praise Ben for the immense support in the near two weeks since giving birth to their new baby.
Six days after the lovebirds met, Ben told Erin that he loved her wanted to marry her. The duo met on December 27, 2004, at Ole Miss. Erin was in the art school at the time and had a crush on Ben – from afar.
So, when they eventually crossed paths, the mom of two was happy to hear Ben say to her, “I want to tell you something. I think I’ve fallen in love with you.”
The “Home Town” couple celebrated this year’s Valentine’s Day at home in the most romantic way. They had dinner prepared by a chef and were in pajamas. Erin described the evening as a “dream date for the introverted.”