Thursday, September 18, 2014


Less than two weeks ago, and just four months after we lost Bop, my grandmother passed away. She was Nola’s 85-year-old mother, and we called her Grams. She was actually doing quite well on her own after losing Bop; we were all so proud of her. But then she was taken from us, too, so suddenly and unexpectedly.


Grams went to church with Nola on Sunday, September 7, wearing her “Finish Strong” t-shirt and her black and gold fleur-de-lis scarf in honor of the Saints’ season opener. The two of them went to brunch afterwards, which had become somewhat of a routine since Bop’s passing. They had just ordered when Grams suddenly suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. Four hours later, she was gone. Just like that. It still doesn’t feel real.


Grams was born on January 24, 1929 in Pontiac, Michigan. When her best friend's brother returned from the Navy in World War II, they fell in love and married. They had three daughters, and eventually settled in Walled Lake, Michigan. She was widowed at age 30, and three years later married Bop.


Her new husband moved her and his newly adopted daughters to New Orleans, where he worked in the burgeoning space program as America chased the moon. They settled in Metairie and had a son.


Grams’ last real words to Nola were, “You know, Honey, I think I’ll have a bellini.” That carefree attitude was just one of the things we loved about her. Her greatest joy was to spend time with her extended family buzzing about her, a sparkle in her eyes and a wide smile on her face. It was how she approached living: always with a sense of joy and wonder.


Grams liked to have fun. When she wasn't golfing, she was challenging someone to cribbage, or playing dominoes, or rummy or pinochle. When alone, she played solitaire.




And always, there were the bridge games. She taught her three daughters how to play, so she'd always have a foursome. In later years, she played in two bridge groups, and when there wasn't a bridge game going on, she learned to play on the computer. And she also usually had an unfinished jigsaw puzzle spread out on a card table in her living room, waiting for the next piece to be placed.




She loved her soap operas. She knitted, crocheted, and cross-stitched a lot. She always put tinsel on her Christmas tree. She loved playing the slots at the casino. She always had plenty of M&Ms on hand, as well as cold raisins for Riley. Her holiday cheeseball, mushroom rice, and potato casserole were famous.


She immersed herself into the New Orleans culture and was always ready for a party. She loved her Saints. Jazz music. Mardi Gras.


Her “Love ya!” goodbyes. “Get any on ya?” Answering the phone on Christmas Day with her cheery, “Merry Christmas!” Hugs, Grams: her signature at the bottom of everything, including her comments on this blog, which she read faithfully every day.


She was a wonderful lady, and I am privileged to have had her as my grandmother for as long as I did. I was her only granddaughter; her other four grandkids were boys.


I have fond memories of spending the night at her house, eating dinner with her and Bop and Jeff, and then making “ice cream soup” on tv trays in front of a show before bed. She always kept gum in her purse for me (and Jeff) to find, and she let me dress up in her clothes on more than one occasion.


The three oldest cousins collaborated to read aloud the reasons we all loved Grams at her funeral, many of which are sprinkled throughout this post. We also got together earlier that same morning and made Bop’s breakfast with a side of buttermilk balls in honor of both of them. I’d like to think that made them smile.




So now, Grams, it’s up to you to “bless our loved ones, near and far away.” Have so much fun up there with Bop, but don’t forget to look in on us every now and then, okay? And just know that we will always love you.


Nola said... Best Blogger Tips

Damn it, Courtney. I did not want to cry again. But reading your last paragraph did it. What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. She would have been so proud. Thank you.

QP said... Best Blogger Tips

Hugs, QP

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Courtney, this is a beautiful post. Lynne

AD#1 said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, C, for such a touching, heartfelt tribute to Mom/Grams. No one could have done a better job.

Trisha said... Best Blogger Tips

What a sweet wonderful and heartfelt post....I love the old pictures!!!!

Jackie said... Best Blogger Tips

Friend this was simply beautiful. Grams was so wonderful, so caring to anyone lucky enough to have met her. She was just beaming with pride at the amazing woman you have become and I know she's showing this post around Heaven. Love you my friend!

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