We traveled again this week, back over to my mom's. This time was for my grandmother's funeral. I took three days off from work and we left Tuesday morning at 5:00, stopping to feed Peri three times along the way. It worked out perfectly.
We got to my mom's around lunchtime and were greeted by a pair of tutu-clad nieces, Michelle and Lena. Mom had the forethought to make sure Peri had a tutu too (two, to, tew?). We got squared away in our room and I got to hang out with the little girls. Michelle is what we'd call "a pistol". She had us playing outside, running down to our storage shed to bring up the little kids' table and chair set for the patio. Then it was imaginary culinary school, then nap-time. Michelle also managed to catch on to the naming convention when we're in Steilacoom...
I'm named after my uncle, and as long as I can remember, my uncle has been "Big Gary" and I've been "Little Gary". Michelle heard us mention this, and from that point on, it was "Hey, Little Gary, let's go outside and play!" or "Little Gary, where's Cousin Peri?" I think the absolute cutest thing I heard all last week was Michelle beckoning me "Come along, little fella'." She's about the cutest little girl in her age bracket (Peri of course taking home the overall prize in the Cute Contest).
My niece Lena is a little less vocal (she being just under 18 months, not yet as articulate, and a little wobbly on her feet), so she provided a refreshing way to spend the downtime. Peri enjoyed the attention from her cousins and perhaps next year will be big enough to keep up with her cousins.
My mom worked really hard to put on a lovely, simple funeral for my grandmother. She wanted a graveside service and a simple reception at the house afterward. And that is exactly what my mom made happen. We moved a lot of furniture around and had some pictures printed of Grandma to scatter throughout the house, along with her woodcarvings, paintings, quilts, and knit hats. My brother and sister-in-law had the great idea to have a really good photograph of Grandma (back when she was young) restored, blown up, and framed. My copy now resides in our living room.
A lot of people attended the funeral service. A lot of people I hadn't seen in years; some I had never met, yet heard a lot about. It was neat to see these household names standing together and celebrating a great woman.
I'll post excerpts from her obituary here:
EDITH FULLER REESE 1915-2011 Edith Fuller Reese was born April 17, 1915 on a dry farm at Stone in Southern Idaho the second daughter and third child of Amos Levi and Agnes Park Brockbank Fuller. Her parents were pioneers of Utah with grandparents crossing the plains in the 1840s and 1850s.
...After graduation from high school Edith worked one winter in Salt Lake City and in 1935 married Perry Leland Reese whose father happened to be the town marshal of Smithfield. The law was part of her family for her grandfather, Isaac Brockbank served for a time as sheriff of Salt Lake County, Utah and later twice as deputy sheriff. Perry's health was also poor having suffered illness during the flu epidemic of 1918...
...After Perry received training as a watch maker he secured employment at Hill Army Airfield and in 1941 took a job at McChord Army Air Field near Tacoma when Edith and their two sons James Rex and Gary joined him the next year.
Perry worked in the defense industry during the war at both McChord and Fort Lewis and after the war secured a job with the Boeing Airplane Company where he worked until 1953 when he died leaving a young widow and three children, daughter Elaine joined the family in 1945 and became the apple of her daddy's eye.
Edith had been working off and on for a friend but decided to go back to school to obtain a teaching degree. She attended classes at Pacific Lutheran College and in 1956 took her family to Provo where she completed her degree in 1958. She also attended school in Oregon and was invited to attend the Merrill Palmer School in Detroit one winter. She returned to Tacoma and obtained employment at the newly established Iva Alice Mann Junior High School where she worked in the home economics department and later as the library lady at the Hillside School also in the Clover Park School District after receiving additional training at the University of Puget Sound. After a twenty year career in teaching she retired to an older home in Steilacoom where the house and garden were improved to her specifications.
...Always active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints she served as a Relief Society President, three times as a Young Women President, taught Sunday School and was active in the Young Single Adult program in Tacoma.
...She loved working in her garden and pursued many hobbies. She painted in oils, quilted, carved in wood and during the last few years she knitted caps for surgical cases at Mary Bridge Hospital and had recently finished another twenty caps for the children. She had wanted to live as long as her grandmother, Mary Ann Park Brockbank, who was the last 1847 pioneer of Utah but came two years short.
What I appreciate about my grandmother is how she was always getting "into" things. I once found a kit in the basement that was full of beads and beading supplies. When I asked her about it, she said "Oh yeah, a friend and I wanted to get into beading." I always viewed her as an artisan, a practical artist. She painted, she sewed, she carved wood, she quilted, she knitted, she cooked, she baked. This was something she instilled in her children and in my brother and me.
I appreciate that she worked so hard her entire life long so that she could provide for her family.
I find myself without more words on this subject, so I will make an end for now.
We left Thursday morning to head back toward home, and eventually made it. We had to stop more frequently for Peri to nurse; one of those stops being the Carter's Outlet in North Bend. Let's just say that we had a good time and got Peri some cute dresses to wear.
It was fortunate that we stopped when and where we did, because there was a large accident on I-90 that happened shortly before we got to that point. Could have been us... We were definitely protected and watched after on this trip. After a lot more stopping, we made it home twelve hours after we left my mom's house.
I am grateful for so much, and this trip has made me remember that...