Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You can call her "Boots"!

Today is my grandmother's birthday.  She's a young and active 83 year-old beauty.  She was born in Greensboro, NC, on April 10, 1929.  One of 4 girls, she was named Beulah Arlene Jarrell...but you can call her "Boots".  For as long as I can remember people called her Boots.  I don't know where the nickname came from and never thought to ask.  Those boots weren't just made for walking, they were made to travel! 

Boots has lead an interesting and unusual life.   When she was only 5, her mother was killed in a freak trolley accident, while carrying Boots in her arms.  By the time she was 23 years old, she and my grandfather, Norm Ecker, had 6 kids.  She became a grandmother at 33; a great-grandmother at 56; and a great-great grandmother at 78. 

After 25 years of marriage, 6 children and 12 grandchildren, she and my grandfather divorced.  They each remarried (Grandma to Sam Groters)  and (Grandpa to Carol Flanders).  My grandfather and  Carol, had a daughter, Denise, who is my aunt. (Although it's hard to explain to people since I am 12 years older than she is.)  After another 25 years or so, sadly both Carol and Sam died.  Eventually my grandparents started dating (yes, each other) and got re-married.  Theirs is definitely a unique love story. 

He had a scarcastic sense of humor and loved to tell stories. He often referred to Gram as his "1st and 3rd wife". He would say "that woman never shuts up" or "she talks so much she interupts herself".  She would come back with comments about him always being right and how he had strong opinions that he was willing to share with everyone.  Sadly, after just a few years of their new marriage, my grandfather passed away.

When my mother died at the young age of 46,  I remember my grandmother crying and telling me that burying your child is one of the worst pains you can ever endure...she had done it twice.  Her son, Jimmy, had drown at age 6.  She's a strong woman, who's faith in God has got her through the tough times.

Last spring I was blessed to have spent an afternoon with my grandmother and my granddaughter.  It was such wonderful few hours that I will always remember the laughs we shared as we explained to Gabriella who was who's mommy.  My heart was full as I felt the love that has passed through the generations. 

This amazing woman still loves to travel and has been all over the world. My grandpa used to say that she always has a suitcase packed and was ready for a trip. This proved to be a great thing for me when we needed a last minute chaperone for one of my high school trips. Grandma gladly offered to drive 5 teenage girls to Saratoga Springs for a DECA conference. (Who does that?)  Even now, she never hesitates to take a bus trip with the seniors or ride along with anyone that needs some help or just to keep them company.

I love this woman more than words can express and her never ending energy never ceases to amaze me.  In fact, she called me on Sunday from Myrtle Beach - I think she was there for Spring Break!

Happy Birthday, Boots!  Keep walking!