My grandmother on my father’s side just passed away. She was 92 years old and I would safely say that she passed from old age. Her last few months were sad, she was no longer living at home. Due to her age she needed to be put in an elderly housing place. She missed her home but it was for the best since she couldn’t really take care of herself. She lived in Florida where she and my grandfather had moved to in the early 80’s. She loved Florida and she never wanted to move back up North which we all understood but unfortunately it made it more difficult in the end. She is now in a better place and it comforts me to know that she is probably reunited with my father in the great beyond, at peace and content.
My grandmother was a strong and feisty woman. She was very opinionated and spoke her mind especially to my grandfather. She was also very capable and artistic, when my grandparents moved down to Florida, my grandmother took full advantage of retirement. When my sister and I spent part of our summer with her, I remember my grandmother showed us how to do macramé, she showed us how to make sea shell trees with plaster of Paris bases and twisted strands of wire as the trunk that we unraveled to make branches where we hot glued shells as leaves. We also watched the soap opera lineup at ABC, that was the great summer of the historic epic Luke and Laura sag. Every day we had to be home in time for 2:00 p.m, for the soap “One Life to Live” to watch bad boy Brad scheme his way back into good girl Jenny’s heart and then at 3:00 watch Luke and Laura battle against the odds for their true love.
During this summer, my grandmother also showed us how to fish for crabs in the canal right outside near her backyard. She gave us a pole with kitchen string, a net and all the gizzards that we needed and my sister and I spent hours fishing and catching tons of crabs. I don’t remember eating them but we sure had a lot of fun catching them.
My grandmother was also a world class storyteller, especially of my father and my uncle when they were little boys. Those two were the biggest scamps on the planet according to her and she said that with a lot of love. She told us that one day she was in the kitchen making a cake and had left out the ingredients on the counter to go out and put the wash on the line outside. My father and my uncle wanted to help put the flour into the bowl but disagreed over who was going to pour the flour into the bowl and who was going to hold the bowl. The argument became a flour sack tug of war and the whole house was covered in flour, not to mention, both my father and my uncle. When my grandmother came into the kitchen from outside, she was horrified and in shock, without thinking, she grabbed the two flour covered scamps and threw them into the tub and turned the water on high. You can imagine what flour plus water plus hair and eyelashes mean. It took her forever to get the flour paste out of both boys hair and eyelashes. My uncle had thick ringlets, my father just had thick coarse hair, everyone was wailing by this time. My grandmother was beating flour out of the sofa cushions for months down the line. She did love those stories, not so sure if my father and my uncle had the same fondness for the stories, but they were accurate.
She will be missed and as I am writing this I have a smile on my face because I can hear her voice as she is telling me this story again. We all loved her very much and she was a one of a kind Mamie.