My byline for sometime has been, Remember the dash. Beatrice Lowe Willden, 1924-2011...the dash representing the years lived.
Grandma Bea filled her life with fun and love and laughter. Even better, she shared that fun and love and laughter with everyone she met.
I met my future mother-in-law one cold February morning in 1967 - about 7:30 in the morning. Ed brought me in the house and said "Mom, this is Susan...Susan this is my mom - I will see you this afternoon when I get done with Guard". ...and he left!! I was petrified...but within two or three minutes I realized there was nothing to fear.
His mother was so full of life and so full of fun - we had a grand day. His sister Colleen showed up with her baby Gina, and the three of us laughed and talked and had a ball. They talked me into wearing Colleen's prom dress for the National Guard Ball that evening instead of the formal that I had brought with me. I always said that I fell in love with his mother and married Ed.
Watch out Heaven....grandma Bea has arrived! Never, not once did I not feel welcome when we went to Beaver. Always she folded us under her wing and made us feel loved and appreciated. My kids LOVED to go to grandma Bea's because of the love and joy she shared with everyone. My kids had a one grandma they were scared of, especially when they were little - and then they had Grandma Bea with her teasing and loving way.
I don't remember Bea ever really losing her temper - even when she had all six of her kids and all their spouses and all their kids running around in her little house. Imagine, if you will: Her sons (by now, all grown men) wrestling on the living room floor, with Colleen and all of her daughter in laws with a baby in arms sitting around the living room, and all the grandkids running in circles literally - from the kitchen thru the bathroom, the bedroom, the livingroom and back into the kitchen chasing each other and yelling and teasing each other again and again and again. The noise level was off the charts and we would all visit and laugh and talk over and above it all! That little house just rocked. Bea was Aunt Bea to most of the kids in Beaver ...that turned to Grandma Bea as those kids grew up and had kids - she loved everyone. You never went anywhere in a hurry with Bea, because everyone had to stop and talk to her and get teased about their latest escapade.
I loved Grandma Bea like a second mother - she was the best mother in law anyone could ever ask for. She treated us as adults, gave advice ONLY when we asked for it, and loved all of her 'kids in law" as if they were her own.
The world is a little grayer now that Grandma Bea has gone. She returned to her sweetheart Cecil on what would have been his 90th birthday. I can imagine the reunion on the other side of the veil with Cecil and Colleen and Randy waiting to welcome her. Her parents and siblings that have already passed on. I remember watching her with her brothers and sisters at a funeral back in the 60's. There were a bunch of them and they were lining up for a picture and you would have thought they were all 9 or 10 years old - the teasing, the devil horns, the poking and playing around. I wasn't sure we were going to be able to settle them down long enough to get a picture. So much fun and love and laughter.
I forgot to bring the cord to my computer and so I am sitting in the lobby of the Comfort Inn here in Beaver using their computer and internet to write this so I can make the juice in my computer last until we are ready to go back home. I will have to go through my pictures and find some good ones to add to this blog.
Grandma Bea, Beatrice, Mom - I love you and will miss you - you have been a major influence in my life for a lot of years now-even from a distance. Keep an eye on us all from up above - thank heavens we have you as a mom forever. You taught us all how to live our lives to the fullest and to 'remember the dash'....you filled yours well