On November 15, 2006, I read the following at her memorial service...She died five days before on November 10- 8 days shy of her 71st birthday.
I wrote an essay in high school when we were asked to do a paper on someone in our life and wrote about my grandmother. After I read it to her, she loved it and even had it framed. Now I'm using it as my inspiration and guideline dedicated to my grandmother.
She was the kind of person who gets you mesmerized in her true and make-believe stories, took me to the horse races, taught me sewing, and played the piano by ear, and was honest to my personal, and sometimes nosy, questions.
Like any person, she does have her own faults but they were always quickly overlooked. One story that had happened was when I was a toddler and we were living in Tallahassee at the time and my mom, who loved my little curls, told grandma that "do no cut her hair" (as we know, she always loved doing something with hairdos) and then she left for college for the day. Well, needless to say, my grandmother didn't listen and cut my hair- only except it didn't look right. So she took me to the see the hairdresser and got me a cute outfit and matching hat- realizing what she has done and hoping to hide it! We were home in time when my mom came home and of course she said "aw cute outfit" and took off the hat and was horrified to what she had saw. She was angry at her mother, who was completely understandable…oh, and my mom did forgive her in a few days!
My grandmother also had a wicked sense of humor that has passed down to us. I remember when I decided to spend the weekend at home during college and she picked me up- and out of the whim decided to visit my Aunt Nette. She told me to call her up, but omit the fact that we were going to visit her. So while talking to my Aunt, I made it sound like I was still in college and just calling to chat. Whenever I wanted to hang up when it got to that "time to go" time, my grandmother kept signaling me to keep on going, so I did. We managed to get to my aunt's house and still talking to her on the phone, we knocked on her door. She told me that she has to go because there was someone at the door and after we hung up, she opened the door and the look on her face was priceless- shocked and happy and we got her!
A few years ago, my grandmother took my mom and I on a road trip to see Elvis Presley's home Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee and to Benton, Illinois to spend a few nights at a house where George Harrison once stayed with his sister before the Beatles first came to America- knowing that my mom and I would absolutely love the experience as we are both major Beatles fans. The last day we were in Benton, Illinois and having breakfast there on the day we left to go back home, we were all in for an exciting shock- George's sister walked into the house because she was told by our hosts that we were big Beatles fans and she came by to see us. My mom's and my eyes widen and our jaws dropped- we couldn't believe it. My grandmother seeing our reactions, spoke up greeting her and we all got into this conversation, mostly about the Beatles of course, but it felt like we knew her (which, in a way, my mom and I did). Then I asked a casual question, a question that concerned me yet a question that gave my grandmother the hoots throughout the trip and to the end of her life when I asked Louise "How's Harry and Peter", her and George's two brothers. My mom said later that if I hadn't said that, she would've asked that question, but no matter what, it just cracked her up. It was funny a few times but eventually it did get on my nerves! I was asking out of concern as I felt that that Beatles were like my extended family (my mom feels the same way).
She also played the piano by ear since the discovery of her talent when she was 18 months old. She played with a flow and always got never ending requests thrown in by my Mom and me. Making 5 records in the past with her recordings and I take credit of doing three covers of her c.ds.
One thing I know for sure is that my grandmother loved her children- Jane, Jeannette, and Pete. She took so much pride to the fact that they were so close and got along so well and a bonus pride that her seven grandchildren were close as well- despite the 13 years age difference between me to Monica and Robby. In a way, I believe she took that credit herself, knowing that she loves her brothers and sister- I remember her telling me that her mother always told her children to stick together, no matter what. She would tell me stories about her mother Jeannette- of whom she named my Aunt after, the name that I was given to as well.
Grandma, now that you are gone in person, but you are not gone in spirit and in my heart. I will miss you and love you but I do know that you are now with the Lord and reunited with your parents and probably talking a mouthful already to John and George of what big fans my mom and I are of theirs. I also know that you will be looking down at us, smiling or shaking your head at whatever decisions we come across yet looking forward to the day we will all be reunited.