Father Boyle once had a small fire in his apartment and he said that a fire will quickly tell you what is important in your life because at that moment you try to save what you care about most. I have thought about what I would try to save in a situation like that and I always come back to the same thing. Pictures!!! Yes, all of the pictures that your mother and I have taken over the years and the pictures from when I was a kid. In trying to figure out why I have come to the conclusion that the pictures are what helps me remember the good times in my life as well as the good people in my life. One of the best examples of this is my Grandma Marcoe. I was very young when my Grandma Marcoe suddenly passed away, 8 years old. Now in my mid-forties I have very few actual memories of Grandma Marcoe, but the pictures that we have helped cement these memories and will always give me good feelings about her. Maybe this is so important to me because you two were not too much different in age from me when your Grandpa Marcoe died, and I want you both to have as good of memories of him that I have of her. My wish is that pictures and stories will help keep him strong in your hearts and memories as I never want you to forget what an amazing grandfather you had.
I have thought long and hard about what to say to you two about my Grandma. So, I thought about what I remember about my Grandma, I thought about what people have said about my Grandma, and I reflected upon the pictures I have seen of my Grandma and suddenly I realized that I have a lot more of my Grandma in me than I have ever realized. One thing that people will tell you about my Grandma is that she was a home body. She never left the State of Washington and never went far enough that she couldn’t get back home for the night. Yes, I have been places and done some travelling but honestly I would prefer to be “home”. Your mother frequently loves to tell me how much of a home body that I am. I have a hard time arguing with her about this. One of my best memories of Grandma Marcoe is her reading the book “Three Billy Goats Gruff” to me. She was an amazing story-teller and most of her 30 plus grandkids and vividly remember her saying “Trip Trap, Trip Trap” in a way that kept us on our toes. I too love telling stories, sometimes too much my students will say. Your Grandma Marcoe has forever ruined chocolate chip cookies for me because try as they may, no one, even my talented mother, can make chocolate chip cookies that taste as good as my Grandma Marcoe’s. I remember saying as a kid “Grandma Raden is the pie grandma and Grandma Marcoe is the Cookie grandma”. As you both know I love spending time in the kitchen as well. My Grandma Marcoe also loved playing pranks on her kids. This might be the part of her personality that I admire the most and the one I love to continue on. Your Grandpa would tell me about how on walks home from church she would suddenly sprint off and hide from them only to jump out of nowhere to scare the “shit” out of him. I can remember when she had to take her insulin shots she would make it funny and scary all at the same time. Who doesn’t love a Grandma that would do that? Maybe, this is why I love messing with you two so much.
Keep your Papa’s memory close to your hearts boys. Never forget to take some time to look at the pictures we have of him with you two. You will never remember everything about him but some things will stick. I know this because there are things, only a few, that I remember about my Grandma Marcoe. Things such as I will always think of her when I eat a pear. She had a pear tree in her back yard that I used to get pears from. Each and every Christmas Eve does not go by without me thinking about what a good sport Grandma Marcoe was when we wanted to eat by candlelight and she agreeing to do so even though she could not see a thing. Pixie Sticks candy brings her to my memory as I thought I was the coolest kid in town because I could walk from her house to the Golden Rule and get a Pixie Stick by telling them to put it on her tab. I wish I had more time with her to make more memories but the pictures and stories have kept her close to my heart. My memories of her a good ones and I have no doubt that she loved me. I hope your memories of Papa are good ones too and know that he loved you both.
Love you always,
ps I included the video below because she wanted the children’s choir at All Saints to sing “Let There be Peace on Earth” at her funeral. The picture was taken only a couple of months before her death.