Grammy's Vitauary

In the last week two people near me have lost two people near them, completely unexpectedly. Adding to this loss, are two friends who have relatives who have advanced stages of cancer and one once again realizes the shortness and precarious state of


So I am embarking on the anti-obituary. It struck me at some point in the last year that waiting until a person is dead to tell the world how great they were is absurd. I will begin with my oldest friends, in chronological order and work my way to the youngest.

This means I begin with Eve M. and end with Erin R., with the many people I know along the way.

Eve M. is my grandmother. She has many names: Kay, Eva, Molesworth, E., just to name a few. Her names seem to have marked the stages of her life as well as her address have. Married twice, once to a soldier who died in World War II and to mister miserable, she bore three children. Her daughter, Linda, my mom, died almost seven years ago. Her next child, Ed E. is a professor and was so big when he was born that Gram had to sit sideways for months. And her youngest daughter, Kate H., is an actress in Chicago.

I can’t imagine having been married at 19 and widowed at 21 with a baby. She delivered my mom just before my grandfather shipped out, being one of the first induced labors ever.

She grew up in the depression, spending time in a children’s home. On Fridays, if their home economics room was cleaned up quickly and they ran to catch the trolley in St. Louis, one driver would give her and her friends a free ride downtown. Then they would have one ride left on their ticket for the return trip. I love the vision of Kay running in her last pair of “real” stockings to catch the street car.

After the war she worked in people’s homes and then meet Ed E. senior. They married and had a pleasant life in O’fallon, IL. They were happy. Ed was an accountant and they had a few stores. As Gram says, she worked in retail for many years. She owned a children’s store. And then Mr. Miserable was sent to the slammer.

After a few years and some time spent in California and a divorce, she changed her name to Eve M. and moved to Georgia. Her daughter Linda was pregnant with me. She then became my nanny while my mom continued to work. We spent five years together. I remember watching Phil Donahue and the Price is Right every morning while she had toast and coffee in bed. We did everything together.

I also remember spending hours waiting for her to get ready…she was fixing her hair piece I later learned.

We went to Disney World and Disney Land together. I loved being with Gram. When my brother John was born, she moved to Houston, TX with Cliff, an architect.

I visited her one summer for a month when I was six. That was my first flight alone. We played and had so much fun. I cried the whole way home. I was so sad to leave Gram.

In high school, after we had moved to Montana, I used to drive by her apartment to check on her. One time, her car was there but I could not seem to get her on the phone. I wigged out. I ran up to her apartment and knocked on the door. No answer. Then I went to the neighbor’s door. When I got to the third door, I was a crying mess. “Hi, my name is Nicole. I am Eve’s granddaughter. Have you seen her? I can’t get into her place.”

Grammy was there visiting with her new neighbor. What a first impression I must have made. She remains friends with Howard and Maureen, the neighbors, even today.

A few years ago, we took a trip to the White River. She has fished there forever. Boy was that fun. We stayed in a cottage and got up early to get out on the river. She caught lots of fish. I let her catch my fish, because I did not want to kill the fish. My brother John is supposed to take her fishing next.

I still worry about her though. A few years ago I called the police because I would not reach her. She lives in St. Louis again now. She had gone fishing and not told me…what a spitfire.

1 comment:

Mary Lloyd said...

Nicole--I love this tribute to Eve. She is one of the most interesting women I have ever met. She sends me cards and calls on occasion to make sure I am getting through my divorce ok and to make sure I am not "getting screwed" in the financial settlement. She always makes me feel good about myself. She is very wise and I admire how self-assured she is. I feel lucky to have her for a friend.