post by leslie
My amazing 97-year-old grandmother died yesterday.
I’m still in a little bit of shock as we finish up plans/arrangements to get back to Kansas to be with family, but I wanted to tell you guys all about her.
First, I really want to tell you how fiercely independent she was. She lived alone with no medical assistance until very recently (thanks to my amazing Aunt Nancy). Until losing her eyesight completely in later years, she loved working the daily crypto quip, watching any kind of basketball she could find on the television and reading Architectural Digests, dreaming of a home remodel.
One of the main things I’ll always remember was her extreme love and devotion to my grandfather (he died when I was seven or eight, and she never even thought about going out on a date with another man). She would wax on and on about what a wonderful husband he was and how much she missed him. She loved telling me about her taking the train to San Fransisco to marry him (he was in the service) and what an adventure that time of her life was. I am so hopeful that they are together again today.
Her other loves included college basketball (she and my grandfather would travel the midwest to see NCAA tournament games in person), wine (sherry, most importantly) and jazz music. She had a fabulous home stereo, and you could always stop by to listen to music, visit and watch a little basketball. And you better not turn her down when it came to food or beverage — I always ended up with some Dr. Pepper at the minimum (served ice cold), and usually a piece or two of chocolate.
She worked as a bank secretary before marrying my grandfather, and then later she sold real estate. She had wonderful clients who would often give her gifts after sales were completed, and she loved telling us about these families. As she aged, she lost her vision, and needed medication. She called the local pharmacy, and the person who worked there knew her because his parents had bought a house from her, and they began delivering her medication free of charge.
My grandmother was also known for her insistence of proper grammar. A visit with Mimi without a single correction of speech was a big accomplishment, let me tell you. It’s probably the only way I ever got a job as a copy editor at a newspaper.
As a child, I was perplexed at this grandmother’s lack of baking or sewing, but as an adult I have such a grand appreciation for her love of hard work, her wine and her music. Clearly, you can see how I adopted these values.
I will miss Mimi so very much, but I am truly hoping she is in no pain, can see with 20/20 vision again and is in my grandfather’s arms. As she used to tell me repeatedly, getting old like this is not for the faint of heart.