This week was a sad one at Patchwork Farm, as we mourned the passing of my grandmother, affectionately dubbed G.G. by her great grandchildren.
It was just last year we were celebrating her 90th birthday in style, as family flew in from all corners of the country.
It was at that celebration that we gifted G.G. with a scrapbook of photos and letters from family and friends. It was a tribute to a life well lived, allowing her to read the words of loved penned by the many lives she touched.
Her death came quickly and unexpectedly, which might not make sense given her age, but G.G. has always had a bigger-than-life presence, and it felt as though death would never be able to catch her. Despite her age, her death came as a shock, and the accompanying grief has hit me hard. Her death represented the end of an era, and a closing of my childhood. She was the last of that generation of family. Preceded in death by other great aunts and uncles, my paternal grandfather, and my maternal grandmother and grandfather, she was my last living grandparent.
I find my heart is aching with this loss.
G.G. leaves behind her a legacy of love and life lived to the max. From the time I was small, G.G. represented fun. Knowing that she and my grandfather were coming for a visit meant a great adventure was on its way. Life was a party when G.G. was visiting. Daily routines were pushed aside to make room for crafts, day trips, and happy hour.
My childhood memories of visiting her home are some of my greatest childhood treasures.
Here are some of the lessons I learned from G.G.:
From G.G. I learned to love learning. She never tired of acquiring knowledge. She was an avid reader, a lifelong traveler, and never shied away from the newest technology or clever gadgets. She traveled the world with my grandfather’s job, but even after retirement she enjoyed exploring, traveling and seeking out new adventures.
From G.G. I learned the joy of feeding those I love. G.G. was an amazing cook. She appreciated the art of cooking and the delight of good food. Visiting G.G. always meant we’d be fed well. Some of my happiest memories are sitting at her kitchen island watching the women of the household prepare meal after meal for a holiday houseful. The kitchen was always the noisiest and most lively room in the house and usually ended up being the gathering place when G.G. was cooking.
From G.G. I learned the joy of creating. She was incredibly gifted, especially in the area of sewing and quilting. It seemed she was always in the midst of a project and always learning a new artform (that she then soon perfected!) Those she loved benefited from her love of creating beautiful things. In addition to the matching Christmas stockings she sewed for each member of the family, our homes are filled with her creations… from handmade dolls to quilted wall hangings.
From G.G. I learned the value of family. G.G. was fiercely independent and quite happy to be at home and busy working on her own projects, but she loved when family gathered. I have so many happy memories of summer visits to Aunt Marsha and Aunt Gretchen’s cabins on the water, where family would gather. Adults would sit around talking and laughing while the kids ran free. I have so many sweet memories from Christmases spent in Rome, NY and in later years, gatherings at the Homestead. I think that was her favorite thing about her final move to Ohio. She was close to family. She loved when we would all get together for a day of shopping and lunch in Wooster, or a summer cook-out in the barn.
And from G.G. I learned the art of having fun. G.G. was a walking, talking party. Wherever she went, the fun followed. Visits to G.G.’s house offered the promise of happy hour in the late afternoon, when chip and dip were set out on the table, Manhattans were poured, and the kids each got a Shirly Temple with a cherry. Visits with G.G. meant late nights, lots of laughter, and always an impromptu adventure, or two!
Hers was a life well lived, and her absence will be felt by many. How grateful I am to have been blessed by her example and her love. I look forward to the reunion we will enjoy someday. It will be quite the party in Heaven. Talk about the ultimate “happy hour!”
Ann Harmon Real
(1929 – 2020)
On June 20, 2020, Ann H. Real entered into life eternal at her home in Danbury Senior Living, Wooster, OH of natural causes.
Ann was born on June 14, 1929 in Albany, NY to parents Guy and Nellie (Overacker) Harmon. On June 19, 1948, she and Dennis A. Real were married. Ann lived in many places throughout the United States, including Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Panama, New York, Washington, Maine, Michigan, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Jersey, and Florida. She made a wonderful home for husband and children wherever they went.
Ann enjoyed life, laughter and gathering with family and friends. She had a great sense of humor and an energetic spirit. She was insatiably curious and therefore a lifelong learner. She loved people, putting everyone she met at ease with her friendliness. A talented seamstress, she made beautiful quilts which she shared generously with others. She enjoyed playing bridge with her group at Danbury.
Retiring to Rome, New York, she moved to Leesburg Florida upon Dennis’s death. Her final move was to Wooster, Ohio where she lived at Danbury Senior Living where she was shown great love and care and was a member of St. Marys’ Catholic Church.
Ann was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and her sister. She is survived by her two daughters, Denise Real (Jack Duggan), Jill (Paul) Janke, and her two sons, Michael (Nancy) Real and Andrew Real (Jane Wilson). She is further survived by 9 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild on the way.
The family would like to extend its appreciation to Life Care Hospice for their support and care during this period of loss. They are also thankful to those at Danbury Senior Living for the loving kindness they freely gave to her.