Later that night, I was talking to Nick on the phone and got a beep, when I looked, it was my dad's cell phone. I knew immediately that she had died. I barely kept it together on the phone and told him I would call him back in a few min. When I did, he gave me the details and asked that I call my mom the next day. Well as with my traditions, I put it off and put it off because I didn't know what to say. I finally called her on Monday. She sounded pretty good and was fairly chipper, but I didn't do so well. We talked for a while (we hadn't talked on the phone for a long time--- emails are just not the same.) The funeral was this morning.
Nan was the stoic and steadfast anchor of the family. She had lost her husband when my mom was 3 years old and her southern plantation home burned to the ground when my mom was around 12. She built another smaller house but never remarried. She taught first grade for 45 years at the local elementary school, but she had been retired for 30 years. Her home in rural South Carolina is where I spent most of the summers when I was growing up, from 6 years to about 14. It was always nice to get away from home for a month or so and be a kid in the country. I guess since I was by myself and there were no other kids there to torment and reject me, those were the happiest days of my childhood. I have many many memories of those summers.
When I was talking on the phone with mom, she suggested that I write something to Nan and that she would see that it got in the casket. *wipes eyes* I wrote the following and emailed it to my parents this morning. *crying now*
Thank you. You always were a big part of my life, even though I never tried hard to keep in touch. You have left some of my most pleasant memories, and now that there will be no more, these and others will always stay with me: Sticky carefree summer, "an’te", porch pauses in rickety lawn chairs, day lilies and nasturtiums, a syringe boiling in a pot, my first Chip ‘n Dale, sunshine spot toast, "Gregga, don’t...", "mmmm...mmmmmm", endless visits to “neighbors” over miles and miles of tree lined roads, heavily laden pecan trees, stealthy lightening strikes, mute dinner bell, anxious water pump, barbed wire scar, more “aunts” than possible-some with uncles and some not, pecan pie from Ms Leola, coiled cottonmouths, carpets of pine needles, walnut grove and the Studemeyers, piano beats without tune, musty smell of the garage, sad and forgotten brick steps, blue lizards sunning and running, spongy lawn from 30 years of growing, touchdown in Augusta and the smell of summer getting off the plane, ageless fence gates, clothes lines, books and books of S&H Green stamps, icy blast of the air conditioner, “The Mole”, silver hair that never changed, classes of kids in Bowman, boiled peanuts and Mr. Willy, Sunday brunch, endless sweet tea, bushels of snap peas just waiting to be hulled, always cotton dresses, a trusty old Chevrolet, rickety well cover, moonshine relatives, peaches and sugar, fields and fields so I couldn’t tell where your land ends and had to ask every time, long country drives to go anywhere, BBQ like no other, Winn Dixie & Piggly-Wiggly - funny places to buy food, bouncing washer on spin cycle, old pedal sew-ers that still did, packets of old letters, the DAR and a real history, .22 rifles and other long lost toys, rural mailmen and boxes on a post, fluffy cotton blossoms for miles, and many many more memories that are lost in the recesses of my mind. Thank you for all the memories, both mine and the ones you shared. Thanks also for telling me the "true" stories. You always worked hard and tried to help everyone else; enjoy yourself now that you finally can. Love, eric.
Rest in Peace Nan, I will miss you.
On another somber note, I think that Jay lost a relative this past weekend also. Someone told me that he had left work on Saturday crying because "his grandfather died." I guess for once I really know how he feels and I'm sorry for him and his family. I sent him a voice mail today in sympathy, but being sappy, I doubt that he will respond. Love and Hugs to you, Jay.