Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Magic of Gladys

Natalee Gilmore Ferreri, Ed's niece, gave a heartfelt and moving testimony to Aunt Gladys' life at her funeral. Whether you knew Aunt Gladys or not, I thought you might like to read what she said about her Great Aunt Gladys. 

The solace in all of this is that Gladys lived a good life. No, not just a good life; she lived a phenomenal life. It's a life that should be celebrated. It’s a life that took her from the farm to Nashville to California to Maple Avenue, GE and the Owls Club to XYZ – all the while making friends and memories along the way.

The magic of Gladys was not only that she was special, but it was her ability to make you feel special when you were with her. She would do anything for anybody. She was so kind, so happy, always on the go, and always smiling. 

I can remember as a little girl that she would take me Magliners on Saturdays; she would let me play Bunco and maybe I'd get lucky and win a dollar or two; and she would make me breakfast before I would walk to high school. It’s no secret that Gladys loved to cook or shall we say pre-cook because there was always something in the fridge or the freezer. And, you might not know when that dish was made! But for me, she would always make me, as we liked to call them, dressed eggs. I can tell you all right now that I will forever regret for not learning exactly how to make those eggs and the secret ingredient that made them so delicious!

I think about her sewing and how, through it, she met so many people. For me, she made countless school costumes, curtains, clothes – there was nothing she couldn't do or wouldn't do. The week of my wedding she literally remade my dress for me. Twice.  And this is when she could barely see. I don't think she was too happy about the project, but she would have never said no. And that was Gladys, she never told anyone no. Maybe if she had, just once, I would have learned how to use that sewing machine.

Gladys was 96 years old when she died, and I was lucky enough to get to spend 35 years with her. She out lived so many of her friends and family. I can't help but think when she got to Heaven on Sunday night she was greeted by so many people: Bobbie and Bernard, Mama and Papa Fitts, Ira Lee and Mimi and her beloved husband, Eddie. It probably was one big party, and I think they may have said, Gladys, where have you been? We have been waiting for you for such a long time. I'd like to think her answer may have been something like this:

I had one more hem to put in.

There was one more episode of
Wheel of Fortune to watch.
I wanted to play one more game of Bunco.
I needed one more burrito from Los Toribios, where I'd definitely say, "It's too much, I can't eat it all!"
I wanted to go to that casino with Judy.
There was one more birthday I wanted to celebrate.
I wanted to see that squirrel in
Christmas Vacation one more time.
I needed to make sure that my beloved Maple Avenue was left in the capable and caring hands of the neighborhood "cookie-eaters."
I wanted to hear my friend Natasha sing one more time.
I wanted Annabelle to roll my hair again.
I needed to make sure that Leslie, Mandy and Ben were okay.
I wanted to read the paper with my coffee and cookie one more time.
There were a few more cards that I needed to send.
I wanted another lunch with Willie Lee.
I wanted to hear what happened with all of Madallyn’s and Jake's games.
There were a few more Christmas gifts to buy and stash away in July.
I wanted to go ride those big rides at
Holiday World with Maggie, Jack and Mary.
I needed to make sure that Todd got moved to Portland.
I wanted one more Christmas morning.
There was one more Fourth-of-July parade that needed a Grand Marshall.
I wanted to hear one more song from the First General Baptist carolers.
I wanted one more early morning with Steve with lots of laughs.
I needed to make sure that Ed and Debbie's farmhouse got built.
I had one more pepper plant to put in the yard and one more weed to pull.
I needed to get Scotty one more Snickers bar from the big blue urn in the back room.
Someone had to go to Natalee's wedding.
There was one more church that I wanted to attend.
I wanted to check out one more club and make a few more new friends.
I had some more pecan pies and batches of creamed corn to make.
I wanted to give a few more smiles.
I wanted to touch a few more lives.

I think she would have let everyone know that Pam was with her in the end. And I think she would have make a special point to tell Mimi that Gay was doing great, and along with Steve, she took such wonderful care of her until the end, opening up their home to her, and loving her. And, I especially know Gladys would want to tell Gay and Steve: Thank you for everything.

When she a got a bit sicker last week, Scott Edward sent her the most beautiful flowers. On the card he wrote: You are the most wonderful person I know. I don't think there are more perfect words. Quite simply, she was the most wonderful person I have ever known. 

Not a day won't go by where I won't miss her and love her and always be eternally grateful for my Aunt Gladys. 

Natalee and Aunt Gladys, celebrating a special day

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