My grandmother, Mamie Mandot, has passed on to be with her husband, Marc, and her parents and siblings. She died today of pneumonia in Livingston, Texas.
She was just two weeks shy of 100.
As a young girl, she loved to play basketball and figure math problems out in her head. As an older woman, she enjoyed bridge and making homemade jellies and jams. We used to make tents in her pine tree forest out back of her house in Atlanta. We played badminton with her, and one time when we were there for Christmas, I heard Santa Claus walk on the roof and reindeers bells ringing! She also loved the Atlanta Braves; they were always broadcast during the season, whether radio or tv, it didn’t matter. It was my first introduction to television sports! She had a wonderful, magical collection of tiny porcelain dolls in her hallway, high up on a wooden shelf. I remember how special it was when she would take them down, especially the miniature man in the high-collared frock with the white wig, seated on a porcelain stool at his porcelain piano. I could almost her the strains of Mozart!
They also kept a black-eyed pea shaped wooden bench in the bathroom. Meema and Peepa, as we called them, sat on that bench and gave us baths. They never left us alone, but always helped us wash the grit out from behind our ears and help us sail the red and yellow plastic boats.
I also remember being with Meema in Heflin, visiting Sister and Sam, her remaining two siblings. I remember the fancy dinnerware
for dinner, and the crackers she would put out with butter when she served my grandpa his noodle or tomato soup at the old round kitchen table. As she aged, she would putter around the yard, picking up sticks, making collections by her side door.
My mom told a story that after my grandfather died, my Meema learned how to drive! One day, she was out and realized she need to put gas in the car. Having never put gas in a car, she pulled up at a service station, took the nozzle out of the bin, took the cap off the gas tank, pointed the nozzle at the hole and pulled the trigger, releasing gas all over the concrete and the side of the car. She didn’t realize you had to put the nozzle in the tank!!! I was also told, at some point, that she was on the highway and saw a large cardboard box in her lane. Instead of driving around it, she decided to drive through it. Unbeknownst to her, and fortunately, she wasn’t killed. It had a washer/dryer set inside! She just totalled the car, I think.
She was pissed at my mom when keys had to be taken away and told she was no longer going to be allowed to drive.
We saw my Meema just about a month ago, maybe more. I, too, am starting to get my dates mixed up! But, we played ball with her…she had a purple plastic ball with her name on it, and the girls and I took turns bouncing it with her. She loved to play catch up to the very end.
Lastly, a sweet story with some spunk: on one of the last visits with her doctor, after she broke her hip, she leaned over to the doctor as he finished examining her and she whispered in his ear, “You’re very handsome!” Ever the flirt!
My mom has been so loving and gentle with her. I hope I can be the kind of daughter to my mother that she was to hers.
We will miss you, Meema! Cheers to the next journey!