Today my grammy would have turned 75. I say would because she was killed in a car accident in 1996. She would never start her car until all of us had our seat belts on, but she herself refused to wear one. That choice ultimately cost her life.
While she battled many demons (drugs, weight and addictions) I was too young to know any of that, so to me, she was just my grammy. She was fun, told the best stories and had zebra print carpet in her TV room.
Frances Ann was only 20 when my mom was born. I’m not sure if it was hard for her or not, doing the single mom thing before she married my grandpa, but pictures like this make me think she did the best she knew how.
That adorable little creature is me circa 1988. It is clear that she loved being a grandma. Some of my favorite memories as a child involve swimming in her pool in Palm Springs or having milkshakes at Hamburger Hamlet. She was a horrible secret keeper and she used to ask Kelly (who is also a horrible secret keeper) to trade secrets about Christmas gifts with her (it usually worked).
I think this picture best sums up how I remember her. She never took that necklace off, she was always wearing big glasses, and she always smelled like Red Door. For awhile my mom had a garment bag that belonged to my grandma. I used to open it up because every time I did, it smelled like her. My mom finally got rid it when it stopped smelling of her.
One of my favorite memories of her was one weekend we spent in Palm Springs I got a horrible ear infection. While we were waiting in the emergency room, she drew a picture of me getting a shot in the butt with a very large needle. She had my brother and sister rolling, and had me in tears scared to death. I don’t know what happened to that picture, but I wish I still had it.
On the 15th anniversary of her death I got a showgirl tattooed on my back with her initials. My grammy loved Vegas, and loved to gamble, but the tattoo had to be a showgirl. One of my favorite pictures was one that she took on a weekend trip. It is a picture of her head superimposed on a showgirl’s body. She loved that photo and used to joke with people that that was her in a former life.
I spent the day eating a club sandwich, drinking a Coke and watching Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It is a tradition that my family shares every year on this date. It is a tradition that I take comfort in, no matter where I am or how I am feeling. She may not have been perfect, but she was my grammy and I love her.
This day is hard for my mommy. Those of you that know her, give her a hug, or send her a text reminding her how amazing she is and how proud her mom would be of her.