She was an amazingly strong woman. Not muscles strong, strong of character. Her essence told you that she cared and would do whatever she could to help you reach your next goal or master your next challenge.
As far as I know she was raised by a “wannabe” society lady and a character of some interest, although time has faded those memories. She grew up in Brooklyn, which in the 20’s and 30’s had a special character of its own; then in San Francisco, a magical place for the coming of age of a young lady.
Our heroine survived all the traumas life had to offer in the 20th century; wars, depression, economies, both plus and minus, and major culture shifts. She waltzed thru all of it. She became a highly respected artist and teacher and a mom. I’m sure that she would consider her family her greatest accomplishment.
Her family consisted of her husband who she cherished (and bickered with) for 66 years, a daughter and a son. During the “growing up” years for her children she developed an amazing sense of humor. She put up with her son cutting the neighbor’s flowers and then selling the “bouquets” back to them for a penny or two. She showed phenomenal restraint when her daughter “cooked” eucalyptus perfume in the kitchen and then packaged it in all the available perfume bottles in the house, regardless of their previous contents. I’m sure in the back of her mind, eventho she wanted to strangle them; she appreciated their creativity and spirit.
Creativity and spirit were the mainstays of her life. When her daughter was in high school she decided to finish the schooling she hadn’t completed because life had led her in different directions. She went to the local junior college and then on to University to get her degrees and the education she so cherished; and she became a teacher, a good one who was liked and respected by both her students and her peers. And now that the more intense activity of raising children had abated somewhat she started producing more artwork of her own, which led to many exhibitions and shows where she could share her vision.
Wisdom is an overused word for our parents, but it is one that fits. Analyzing situations, sorting through to the core and then finding workable solutions appeared to come easily to her. Maybe it wasn’t as easy as it looked, but she was good at handling challenges and fixing problems with apparent ease.
As her children grew into maturity I’m sure she abhorred some of their choices, but she let them make them and just hung back as a safety net. She cheered for them and ached with them as they worked through their own challenges. She was always there for them regardless of how high or low they were on the scale of life. Awed, proud, and often dismayed, she stood by them regardless.
Later she became a very good friend. Someone who would hold your hand, even if you were far away, call you to task to guide you back to the right path, and be your loudest cheerleader when you succeeded. Although she had created a richly rewarding life for herself, she still always had the time and interest for you.
She is now struggling with the end of her life and she doesn’t deserve such an undignified parting; she would not have chosen this path. But this is the one she must take and with her goes a major part of our hearts. After 86 years the most precious gifts of love, tolerance, humor, and awe for life will be her legacy. It is just a shame that more people couldn’t have been a part of it all.