Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Gram's Home....

Last Wednesday, Rob's 82-year-old Grandma passed away quite suddenly. Everyone simply adored her, none more than Madeline and Charlie. Over breakfast the next morning, we explained to Madeline that Gram went to heaven. That she passed away and now she lives with Grandma Bonnie. We explained that we won't get to see her anymore, but that one day, we'll all be in heaven too. She listened and asked questions like "Why did her body stop working" and "Does she have a fluffy bed in heaven?"; we answered them simply and honestly. At the end of our conversation, she gently said, "I'm really going to miss Gigi a lot." We all will.

We stayed over in Louisville on the way to and from Geneva, and were able to spend time our dear friends the Haru's. The visitation, funeral and luncheon to honor Gram were all a lovely memorial to her life and the people who loved her. Our friends in Geneva, Erica and Craig, and Jo and Jason, came to our rescue over and over again to support us over the five days we were with the Vlachs -- we feel truly blessed to call such amazing people our close friends.

We will miss Gram...Gigi....Marion...with all our heart. Rob shared the story of her life during her eulogy:
Marion and Lucille Ball were both born in Jamestown, New York, just 17 years apart in a town that was known as the Furniture Capital of the World. She grew up in her dad’s grocery store, scooping the olives he imported from Italy, slicing cheese and running the cash register. And speaking of Italy, she was 100% Italian with mother, Nicolina Scarpino, and father, Philip Russo. She learned to cook by feel and taste, watching her mother in the k

itchen, never writing down the recipes she is now known for. Once, as newlyweds, Meg and I spent an afternoon with her, learning how to make her spaghetti sauce and meatballs from scratch, and thankfully, scratching it on a napkin as we went. She and Bob fell in love in high school. It was a West Side Story romance – he was a Swede and back then, everyone knew that Swede’s and Italians were like oil and water. But not Bob and Marion. They were devoted, loyal and loving for the 45 years they were married. During that time, they raised Sandie, and moved their lives from Jamestown to Batavia, where they had pool parties, hosted annual pig roasts during Swedish Days and threw extravagant Christmas parties.

Marion was fun. She was generous, warm, and filled with spunk. Most of all, she loved getting to know to people. And even though in 82 years, she never once got a speeding ticket, she also never really slowed down much. When she was 75 years old, she visited her homeland of Italy for two weeks, chasing trains, walking through Roman ruins, and viewing the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City. She had an energetic, entrepreneurial spirit -- for more than 25 years, she owned Geneva Girl, which Bob encouraged her to do. She still worked at Sunshine Lighting two days a week and loved playing golf with her girlfriends every Tuesday.

She had her little idiosyncrasies as well:

  • She loved talking to people so much that she once chatted up a woman on an airplane for five full minutes before she realized she didn’t speak English.
  • She always knew who had just been eliminated from American Idol or Dancing with the Stars.
  • My grandma waited almost eight decades to have her first pedicure. But then she was hooked, and loved going with her daughter and granddaughter as often as possible.
  • At my wedding to Megan, one of our guests came up to me and said, “Your grandma is the bomb.” This was after our best man opened his speech by saying, “I’ll keep this short and sweet, just like Rob’s grandma”
  • Marion could dance a mean polka with her good friend Dave. He says she was a great partner because he could just pick her up and spin her around.

The end of my story about my grandmother is to simply say that she amazed me. She touched the hearts of life long friends and complete strangers. I think today is a testament to that. Christmas Eve will never be the same without sitting around her table. But she is with us as we go about our lives, so we celebrate now and always what she meant to us.


Mollie said...

What a beautiful write-up. Gram will be SO missed.

Denise said...

Beautifully written. I only met her a handful of times but her spirit lives on in each of you. Thank you for sharing.

Nicki said...

Thank you, Megan. It was so good to see and spend time with all of you. Hugs and kisses for the kiddos! :)

The Brown Family said...

Oh Meg, I am so sorry for your family's loss. Rob's eulogy and your post are beautiful tributes. Giant hugs to you all.