Sadly, she has been gone for 9 years now. Yes, only 9 years – she lived a long, wonderful life!!
The Old Lady moved in next door when I was in the first grade. Yes, we really did call her The Old Lady! My brother was just a toddler and couldn’t remember her name, so he would yell “Hi old lady next door!” when she drove by. It stuck for some reason and she got such a kick out of it. Almost all my cards and letters from her are signed “The Old Lady Next Door.”
The Old Lady had a daughter that’s around the same age as my mother, but there were never any grandchildren. She had TONS of family though – nieces, nephews, and of course neighbors. 🙂 She was such an important part of my childhood growing up and she and I were very close. I just loved spending all my free time next door chit chatting.
I am thankful that I have so many things in my house that came from her: a beautiful buffet, a marble table, a turtle footstool, a complete vintage Pyrex mixing bowl set, the fruit bowl her cousin hand-painted for her, and the dry sink her husband made for her as a wedding gift. 🙂 I know there are many other smaller things around here that were hers, but these are the ones that stick out most prominently and I do enjoy having them.
One of the hardest things I have ever had to do, both physically and mentally, was to be a pallbearer at her funeral. No one warned me that the pallbearers would be the only people left in the room when the casket was closed. I was warned that the casket would be very heavy and oh it WAS! I never realized how much the stairs to the church appear to go straight UP until I was standing at the bottom of them next to a casket. It was a very interesting and strange experience that I was thankful to be a part of. I just hope to never do *that* again.
She passed away on January 1st, peacefully at home with her daughter. I just KNOW she held on a little longer just to make it to a new year. That was so her personality! 🙂