Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Bye Sweet Alice

June 10, 1918 - April 22, 2011

My Grandma Dodie's BFF since girlhood was Alice. For as long as I can remember Alice was a part of our holidays. We called her Auntie Alice and it never occurred to us that she was of no relation. I don't think one needs to be a blood relative to be family and I'm pretty certain Alice would concur. Alice passed away this week. She was two months shy of her 93rd birthday. All of her Easter baking, including cheese cakes, cookies, poppy seed and Easter breads were complete and her table was set to host Easter dinner.

Alice on her 90th Birthday.

The last visit I had with Alice was in September. She looked well and made us a cup of tea. She gave Fin a little white plush lamb. Finley calls it Baby Baaa and totes it all around the house. We talked a while and then she and Finley looked tired so we headed off - back to NC. Letters went back and forth and I sent her a parcel including her favorite hair colour. It had been discontinued in Canada and so I'd send it from the US. Last week while my sister was visiting I was talking about Alice. I owed her a letter. She had written to tell me she'd had a fall. It was a surprise to get this letter as her hands were becoming so stiff with arthritis she was writing very little. I had also mentioned her several times in the past few weeks to other friends of mine, recounting stories including Alice. It's weird - it's like she was sending me a vibration and I didn't pick up on it to call her or write that letter...

When I first started out in the TV business I worked on a comedy series as a locations manager. Which meant I had to source the locations to shoot the series. Alice let us use her house as the leading lady's house for the series shoot. We invited her out to the wrap party where she danced the night away with all our actors and crew. Everyone loved her!

Me and Alice Summer 2008

When Alice's husband Joe died he had just purchased a bitchen red Camaro. It was a 1973. Alice kept it stored in the garage under all her old fur coats for safe keeping. She did get her drivers permit and drove that beautiful car out to see us in Richmond once. I doubt she drove it after that. It remained in the garage for some 20 years until she gifted the car to my father. When my mother was in and out of the hospital in her last year battling cancer Alice felt my dad needed a pick me up. She didn't say so, she just gave him the car. It had 6000 miles on it and the original tires. Dad spent that whole summer detailing the car, going between drive nights and the hospital. He was so happy to have that car. It was a good distraction and I think just what he needed at that time. He too parked it, when he lost the love of his life, just as she had.

Alice at 91 meeting Finley 3months old
Summer 2009

It's going to be very strange to come back to Ottawa and not drive over to Alice's ... I'm fortunate she invited me into her life for so many years. I'm so happy she got to meet my husband and daughter. I'm fortunate to have had so many written correspondences with her over the past few years. I will forever regret not writing her back on time after her last letter arrived to me in February. I'm usually good with replies but we left on a family holiday and then I wanted to print current photos of Finley to include in my return letter. I left that letter unwritten for too long. She won't get it now and was asking why she hadn't heard from me and where I was......I hope she knows how much I cared even though that last letter was unanswered.

Alice was an incredible woman. She was strong in mind and body. She had guts and gumption telling off anyone who asked her to slow down. She was still cutting the lawn with her push mower last summer at the age of 92! She was a fixture on Plymouth Street in Ottawa - where she lived to her last day in the house her dad built, independent and surrounded by wonderful friends.


lucky said...

((hugs)). a truly beautiful tribute to what seemed like an incredible woman.

Carla said...

Hi Ships! I haven't visited your blog for so long, and I'm happy I did today. This put a lump in my throat and will make me remember not to take anyone for granted and to stop putting things off so that they're 'just right' was so great to see you and Finner....short, but great. Wish we were able to spend more time with you guys...regularly!! It's hard to catch up when chasing toddlers around, isn't it? Anyway, glad you had a safe trip home and will drop you a 'real' line soon. Take care...xo.C

Earth To Mother Ship said...

Thanks Carla - Loved seeing you TWO! Colton is such a sweetheart. Yes, it's next to impossible to focus on a catch up with toddlers around. Wow - it's like trying to suntan and sip a cocktial in the midst of a hurricane!

We'll have our time again... miss you and love that we can catch up and fall into place regardless of space or time. xo Ship