My Grandma Mary was a rockstar. No, she wasn't really a musician but call your grandma "special" and you risk people thinking she was just an older lady who read you books and baked you cookies. Which she did. And really delicious cinnamon rolls. But that's besides the point.
|Aunt Cora, Grandma Mary|
and Mom (with the cute cat-eye glasses).
Mary Mickler was my grandmother, yes, and Cora/Bill/Kathie/Melinda/John's mother. She also took care of her mother and her father, who had Alzheimer's. (I think.) She helped her brother, who had ALS and played nurse to my Grandpa Bill who had multiple multiple bypass surgeries. (And, no, the repeated word is not a typo.) She worked as a psych nurse at St. E's. There was no shortage of folks for Mary Mickler to take care of, including me, Angelo and Kate. She lived down the street and watched us all the time, encouraging impromptu dance shows and other dramatic play. She was sort of like a big-sister figure: responsible and manners-demanding but fun. In, second or third grade, I opted to have my birthday sleepover at her house instead of at my own because she was, I believed at the time, much cooler than my mom. (As it turns out, my mom is pretty cool.) Grandma Mary taught me how to drive.
In her early 20s, she lived in Washington, DC. I need to learn more about this time in her life and generally more about her from others who knew a different Mary Mickler than I did. Like my mom and my Uncle Bill. And definitely my great-Uncle Frank, Grandma's youngest brother, a brilliant and hilarious, art-loving, politically astute man who lives in Costa Rica. But here's what I remember about Mary Mickler, separate from her various caretaking roles: she read lots of novels, drank coffee (light, with sugar) and wore snakeskin pumps. She liked modern design. She loved to travel. She wanted to visit Alaska but, alas, never made it.
My grandmother passed away 20 years ago this month--a couple of weeks after sustaining what turned out to be fatal injuries in a car accident, just a few days shy of her birthday. She would have been 17. Happy (Leap Year) Birthday, Grandma Mary. I so wish you were here to have a cupcake (and a cup of coffee) with me and Jon, Jules and Kai. You'd love the Olin boys and they'd love you.