In 1914, my grandmother, Dorothy Falcon, was born. She finished high school in 1932. Then, when women did not usually go to college and only needed a two-year degree to teach, she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in 1936.
Gram was the first in her class to get work. She taught eight grades worth of boys in a one-room schoolhouse. After she got married at the age of twenty-six, she got special permission to continue teaching since only unmarried women could work. She watched my grandfather go off to fight in WWII. When he safely returned home, my mother was one of the first baby boomers born.
I was an exact clone of Gram (except I was a much more mischievous child). Gram, my mom, and I were best friends from the beginning. The common link that we all shared was our sense of humor. Laughter was ever-present in my childhood. They found fun in everyday events.
One of my first memories of Gram was her telling a waitress, “I’ll have coffee and keep it coming!” I attribute my intense caffeine addiction to her. Although I have never calloused my tongue to the point that she had. Gram could drink lava and never blink an eye.
When I’d venture into her town with her, past students constantly stopped Gram, so they could tell her what a difference she had made in their lives. Even as a young person, I realized the power of contribution. It was then that I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives someday.
When we’d go out to lunch in the 1970s, Gram would award me one dollar if she dribbled on her blouse. She ALWAYS spilled. After lunch, she’d take me to the toy store to buy something with the money.
When she was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1982, she not only beat it but made all her doctors and nurses laugh at her plight. She lived with a colostomy for the rest of her life. But, instead of feeling sorry for herself, she had a phone installed in her bathroom, spoke with her friends during that time, and called it Happy Hour.
When I was terrified and overwhelmed being a new mother, Gram shared with me that she never felt comfortable with her mothering abilities until her children were in grade school. Hearing her admission eased my fears. Years later, I realized I shared her exact feelings.
When I was pregnant with my second child and realized I was having a daughter, I named her Hadley Falcon after my grandmother, which made Gram proud. Gram got promoted to GG (great-grandmother), and she doted on her great-grandchildren the same way she had with me. She taught them to laugh a lot.
Possibly one of my favorite memories was when GG spelled out that someone was a smarta$$, and Braeden deciphered his first spelled-out-loud word. For a refined gal, who rarely swore, it seemed like an appropriate gift to her five-year-old great-grandson.
My grandmother, Dorothy Falcon Powers, died in 2010, and I remember speaking at her funeral. Although it was hard, I am so glad I had a chance to tell that packed church about my wonderful grandmother. Best of all, Braeden (8 years old) and Hadley (5 years old) spoke at her funeral too. They had two of the best speeches I’ve had the privilege to hear.
Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about her and laugh from happy memories. In so many ways, she made all the difference in my world. But, one thing I know for sure – she would have been a BadAss Betch, as she was always for the betterment of females.
I hope to represent my clone by honoring her tradition of being a selfless person, mother, and future grandmother. I know this is the way we all live on forever. I know she will never be absent from my family’s hearts.
And if there is a significant contribution I can make in this lifetime, Gram’s example is its embodiment.
Who do you remember fondly?