My Grandma had a look of confusion or surprise on her face for a good hour. As people arrived at the party she either hadn't seen them in so long she didn't recognize them or she did recognize them and never dreamed we had invited them.
The most fun for me was watching her during this hour and taking photos. Some of her nieces and nephews she hadn't seen in 12 years or more and she didn't recognize a few of them.
We also invited a couple of friend of my grandma's who are kind of like family. My grandparents' farm in Kentucky is next to their parents farm and they are related to my great-aunt through marriage. She did recognize them, but had that surprised face.
The ones we knew would shock her she hadn't seen in 40-45 years. My grandmother worked at Brach's candy and also managed an apartment building. One girl who lived in that building needed a job and my grandma had found her one at Brach's. The girl was only 16 and my grandma kind of took her under her wing.
As the years passed, this woman's nieces came to stay with her during the summers and grew up with my mom. Between the 4 women, it had been 40-45 years since anyone had seen them. We invited them not knowing if they'd come.
They drove up from North Carolina. Grandma had no idea who they were by looking, so when my mom told her, she about fell out of the chair. She was so surprised.
I tell you, Grandma was on cloud 9 that night. She barely ate because she was so nervous and surrounded by people constantly.
We managed to get almost every photo we had wanted. A few photos were forgotten, but the major ones, we got and they came out so nice.
We left the restaurant at 10:00. Because we had barely eaten, we came home and ate some of the leftovers we brought home. We also had grandma open her cards and gifts and I showed her the photos, the album I made and the photo collages my sister had done because she hadn't been able to look at anything.
She was so touched and flabbergasted that we all did so much for her. I've been telling her for years that she is every one's favorite, but I think now she might believe me. People showed up for her from as close as Wisconsin and Michigan and as far as North Carolina.
Days later and she is still talking about how much we did and all the people that came.
She is also still talking about her painted fingernails and wants to keep them up. Every time I go in her room, she has me check that they aren't chipped.