Remembering loved ones who are gone
A very special lady
I would like to introduce you to a very special lady who has always, and will always, hold an extremely special place in my heart. Her name is Edith Irving. She was born in 1906 and died in 2003. She was 97 years old when she finally left us.
This is my great grandmother. I cannot express how much she meant to everyone in the family. We all loved her and still love her dearly. She was an amazing woman who was nothing short of an angel to everyone she knew, loved, or even met.
What a story teller!
Great grandma Edith was a fantastic story teller! She could get all of us wild and crazy kids settled down for hours on end, hanging on her every word. The most enjoyable tales she told were ones from her past. Way back when women all wore dresses and people traveled in horse pulled wagons or buggies.
My favorite memory that she shared with me was a story she felt was terribly scandalous for the time, yet at my young age of 8, when she told me, I thought was so silly it had to be made up.
When Edith was a young woman, before she met my great-grandpa Ira, she was a "looker" and there was one particularly handsome and charming suitor who came to call on her. He took her for a walk through the park. Great grandma described the dress she wore, going all the way down to the ankles, white gloves and a parasol.
Well, Great grandma thought he was quite the dashing young gentleman and when they sat on the park bench together she dropped her handkerchief on purpose, but made it look like an accident. She was hoping that he would bend down to pick it up for her, just as she had hoped that he would touch her ankle when he did so. He did! When he reached down to get it for her, he touched her ankle just as she had hoped he would.
The only decent and honorable thing for her to do was smack him over the head with her parasol for being so rude and intrusive of her space! It was simply not done. That was a big move back when she was a teenager. Even though she wanted him to, she couldn't just allow him to think that he could get away with it or he might try something even more inappropriate!
It was like being taken back in time when she spoke about her memories.
She would never!
There are a great many things Edith Irving never did.
She never raised her voice, not once. My grandma Barb couldn't recall a single time in childhood or adulthood where Edith had ever used an inappropriate tone of anger or raise her voice when upset. She was always soft spoken, polite, and kind.
She never drove a vehicle. Even after cars became mainstream, great grandma never seemed interested in learning how to drive or in obtaining a license or permit. Her husband drove, she would walk, or she would take the bus. In her time it just wasn't lady like. It seemed odd to her that so many women wanted to drive themselves, or even worse, drive when there was a man in the vehicle. To her, it was simply a man's place to hold that position, just as it was her place to remain agreeable and pleasant.
She never cooked anything out of a box! If it wasn't from scratch, then it wasn't from her kitchen. Edith didn't buy into the idea of "convenience" cooking. It seemed like the lazy person's way out to her. Besides, it always tasted better the way she made it anyway.
She never stopped loving her husband, even after he died in 1985 of cancer.
True Love Story
Great grandma and grandpa Irving were married in their late teens, early twenties (grandpa was a few years older). They had a fabulous, storybook romance and marriage.
You could see and feel the love they shared for one another just by being near them or hearing them talk about the other when they weren't in ear shot to overhear. I've never before nor ever since, seen such devotion and adoration shared between two people.
When great grandpa died in 1985, Edith changed a few of her habits. Her daughter (my grandmother), Barb, came to live with her and keep her company. She religiously listened to the Twins baseball games on her little AM stereo for the remaining 18 years of her life without him. She hated baseball, but it reminded her of Ira. He loved it and listened to it all the time. So, she developed this ritual to help her feel closer to him.
A treasure to be missed
Edith was a spectacular woman. The love she gave to her family and the knowledge she passed down through the generations was nothing short of amazing. While she was never famous or well known to the rest of the world, the lives of the people she crossed paths with were changed forever and for the better.
I am so grateful that she was able to hold not only one, but two of my children before she passed. The pictures and memories are so very precious. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a 5 generation moment or picture. I was the only great grandchild of hers who had children before she left us. She often told me how happy it made her and how much she loved and appreciated that I had given her such a precious and wonderful gift.
I believe that she was the gift to us.