I recently returned from Jupiter Island, Florida, where my family celebrated the life of my beloved grandmother, my “Gran”–Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham, the classiest woman I have ever met, and Quilting Arts’ #1 fan.
The matriarch of my family, she was an amalgam of Jessica Tandy’s character in “Driving Miss Daisy” and this lady that many of us “Downton Abbey” fans have come to adore…
Although petite in stature, my grandmother was a huge influence in my life. She is the one who taught me to stay firm, to never settle, and to follow my heart…even if doing so meant ruffling some feathers. You see, when she was just 17, she eloped with my grandfather, a no-name from North Carolina. When her father, a prominent Virginia businessman who served in Congress and was also the former Governor of Virginia (and not someone to be crossed) firmly told them they couldn’t get married, my grandmother trusted her instinct and my grandparents were officially married on October 2, which just so happens to be my birthday. They were married for 49 years until my grandfather passed.
She also loved to go exploring, and when my grandfather died–ever wanting to instill strength and adventure in others–she said to me, “Pokey, I am going to take you to some of the places your grandfather was too afraid for me to go.” So off we went to safari in Kenya, to visit Srinigar and Agra in India, to sight see in Hong Kong, and to go gorilla tracking in the densely forested mountains of Rwanda at 14,000 feet above sea level. She was 68 years old at the time.
Below is a shot of my first trip with her when I was 11, the same trip where after being so excited watching the Lipizzaners in Vienna, I went back to the hotel and started jumping on the hotel bed. Instead of reprimanding me, she joined me.
If you are wondering if my grandmother spoiled me rotten, you are exactly right…
She also traveled high and low to attend every grandchild’s graduation, whether it be from elementary school, high school, or college…even if said graduation took place in Yankee territory. (I’m kidding…sort of.)
And when it was time to celebrate, celebrate, she did. Here we are attempting to dance at my wedding. I remember this moment so well…
Years later, when I got a crazy notion to start a quilting magazine, she was my biggest supporter. Although she never quilted, every time she received her copy of Quilting Arts, she called me to let me know how wonderful the issue was, and what her favorite articles were. One time when I went to visit her home in Virginia, she had ripped up all of her flower beds to rework them so they resembled patchwork blocks in my honor.
Ah, Gran, we all miss you. Just look at some of your legacy…
Love to you, Gran! Give Gramps a big hug and kiss from all of us. Thanks for so many wonderful years, for so many incredible memories, and for instilling strength in all of us.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone…
I loved this beautiful story
Beautiful! (my mothers name is also Anne Bassett)
What a woman she was! And what a wonderful tribute to her.
How wonderful to have a treasure like your Gran! That was a loving tribute and I know she is smiling down on you.
Ah, Pokey – what a beautiful testament to a beautiful woman. How lucky you both were to have had each other to love. My condolences on this loss of your gran.
A wonderful tribute Pokey. Thank you for introducing her to us.
Echoing all the above sentiments. I so agree with Rayna.
I loved reading this – what a great life/ legacy!
Such a beautiful and touching tribute Pokey. She sounds like she was a wonderful example for you throughout your life. You are so very blessed.
What a loving tribute. Now I feel as if I know your gran – and your family – very well. Lots of fun and spunk in this family!
Loved this moving tribute to your Grandmother. Happy Valentines to you Pokey.
It is always sad to say goodbye to ones we love, but their passing often is a reminder of how much they meant to us. Peace to you and your family-
It makes me giggle to see how many of your Gran’s expressions are your own. And I could just hear the macarena at your wedding reception!
Wonder tribute to a wonderful woman!
What a special story about a special woman. I’m so sorry for your loss. You have so many wonderful memories. What a great supporter she was–the trips, the graduations, and the magazine. A woman who knew the world is there for exploration, the importance of education, and that quilts and art give us pleasure and some “permanence” in this world. All the best to you. You will think of her often, for as long as you have a memory.
What a remarkable role model in your life! My Gram was similar. She didn’t take me to see the world physically, but instilled in me the desire to learn and explore. She also taught me all of the handcrafts and tried desperately to teach me to draw and paint. (My cousin received those genes.) Please know with time, the memories will become more dear and she will visit you as you move through your day when you least expect it. For me, opening the gingerjar and smelling it, always reminds me of the traditional baking of gingerbread at Christmas. Sending you warm hugs and thankful that you had your Grandmother in your life.
I’m so very touched and have a warm feeling of love. I so appreciate you sharing your “Gran” with us.
Peace and Love Pokey…. 🙂
What a wonderful tribute!
What a woman! Thanks for such a loving tribute!
What a role model for you. You have made her proud.
Pokey, what a beautiful tribute to a strong, independent woman – especially true for her generation. Her love and spirit have obviously had a significant influence on your life. Godspeed, Anne Bassett Stanley Chatham……
She would have loved reading this tribute to her. Family is such a big influence in our lives.
She just like my grandmother and great aunt. I can related how she was your great fan. Smile..
As a new grandmother, I hope to have the same strong loving influence on my grandchildren as your grandmother had on you. I look forward to jumping on beds and dancing at weddings. Thank you for sharing a beautiful tribute.
OMG Pokey. What an amazing grandmother you had! I love that she was such an adventuress!
Your post is simply wonderful. It brought tears (happy ones) to my eyes.
What a great tribute to such a special woman–thanks for Sharing the story of your Gran!
You’ve written a beautiful tribute, Pokey. Even those of us just being introduced to your Gram can see how wonderful she was and the legacy she left in her family.
And another –
Sent from my iPhone
Thank you for sharing your story, Pokey. It was beautiful; your grandmother would be so proud. How lucky you were!
I so loved the story, I read it Twice.. I now miss my grandmother who raised me. We had no money but I was always perfectly dressed and cleaned. To her dismay, I would rip out the bow and run with the boys. She dress impeccable in a red dress and was always.. perfectly couffeted
What a wonderful tribute to Gran! Thank you for sharing.
A lovely lady and a lovely life. Hugs for your heart Pokey. I know you will miss her dearly.
A beautiful and moving tribute Pokey. Easy to see so much of her in you!
121: Gates,You give me too much credit. I first heard the reference on Howard Stern. He was interviewing Snoop Dogg who used the phrase. That was probably 10 years ago. At least.