GG and the boys saying goodbye at the end of a Phoenix visit—possibly 1998
Last week, we lost Granny the Great (Shirley Daniels Marks, 26 November 1925–23 May 2013). I’m heartbroken. I’ll miss hearing her voice during our weekly calls, and reading her weekly letters (hearing her voice in my head). I’ll miss writing to her, in return. Granny was a blessing in my life—probably the biggest single influence on who I am today. Between us, my guys and I have several lifetimes’ worth of wonderful memories to comfort us, and these will serve to carry on her legacy.
Tom often teases me because I say so many “Granny” things. I’ve never minded; but, I especially won’t mind now—she’s clearly with me always. Many of my friends have heard Granny-isms like, “If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait a minute,” and “We belong to a mutual admiration society,” (from an old song she sang to me often).
Once Granny made a friend, that person was a friend for life. Starting when I was a little girl, Granny and I would trek to the suburbs (the ends of the earth from Hyde Park, in a child’s eyes) to have lunch or dinner with girlfriends of hers. Sometimes, we’d go shopping or apple picking, too. Always, I’d hear stories about their school days, their childrearing years, their grandchildren—everything. Now, I have girlfriends like that, too—the women who know everything about me (and love me anyway), who share family triumphs and tribulations, who don’t hesitate for a second when help is needed. These ladies love Granny—whether or not they ever met her in-person—because they know her essence through me.
This scanned photograph shows how Granny/GG made us feel every time we were together (in-person, on the phone, and in letters). I’d venture a guess that this is how we’ll feel every time we think of her for the rest of our lives.