I suppose this image that was captured by Christina at Melissa and Chris’ wedding really is a good example of how I was born into the wrong era. I think I was meant to be around in the ’40s when my hats were more appropriate. The hat has many uses including keeping me from getting cooked by the insane Texas sun and hides the retreat of my hairline toward the North Pole. It also can be used to hide my inevitable bad hair days.
Born January 7th, 1934 Santa Monica, Calif.
I miss her dearly. My last living grandparent passed away on Wednesday very early in the morning. My uncle called at 5 a.m. from California with the news. We’d been expecting it for months. She had been stricken with terminal cancer last January and had been fighting since. In December she had been given two weeks to live but some how managed to last until today.
I was very close to her when I was little. My mom and dad split up when I was 6 and my brother and I went with my mother to live with my grandmother in the high deserts of Southern California. We lived in an adobe house in the desert with nothing in any direction except for an occasion house in the great distance. We lived with her until 1994 when she got a job that took her away.
She was a great adventurer. I think that my zeal for life and never ending search for adventure comes from her. At 64 years old she drove from Oregon to Maine across the country in a beat-up 1987 Chevy Sprint to visit her sister by herself. At 67 years old she got her first computer which was replaced by a laptop in 2008. 68-70 she would drive 50 miles one way twice a week to watch our son Edmond as a baby while we were in college. She loved her only great grandson. She was there when he was born.
Or son Edmond is the one hurt by her passing away more than anyone else, I think. He’s only 8 and is very sensitive. I have a Polaroid picture of him as a baby that Gram shot in our car which I look at from time to time. Seeing him as a baby makes me sad because he’s so different now, but it actually makes me sad even more to know that she was watching him that day and shot the picture. He’s not sure how to deal with the grief.
She had been living in Oregon alone in a spare room of her employers house until late 2007 and was having health problems. No family was left there anymore. Everyone had left the previous year. I got her kids to help her move to California where most of her children live and early the next year she was diagnosed with cancer.
She was a tough lady. Crazy in a lot of ways. She wasn’t afraid of anything. She always had a crazy scheme to make a buck, normally most of which never turned out working. But it never stopped her from trying it. She opened a wooden furniture and kits store in the 80s with everything made by my mother or uncle. I don’t even know what happened with that. I just have images that I remember from it.
I had the opportunity to visit with her on a business trip in September of 2008 and she was still her old self. She thrived on conflict and solving problems. We went to the beach with her for a few hours in Ventura and it is one of the most wonderful trips to the beach in my life. She sat in her wheelchair and talked with us in the sand as the kids played in the water. She went with us to a local fish place in the marina. We ate and talked and sadly had to think about leaving the whole time. When we left we had to explain to Edmond that he was going to have to say goodbye to Gram for the last time ever. I don’t cry often but I hate seeing my kids so sad. It was a very sad goodbye. It makes me cry to write about it.
Edmond and I both were influenced by this woman tremendously. She will never be forgotten. Goodbye Gram. You are in God’s hands.
Her memorial as published online in April 2009.