Frances Elizabeth Goodwin – there are so many things to be said about the life and lady we all knew and loved as Meme. But there are certain qualities that wanted to share. These are the things that were most impactful for me and I will hold on to and treasure forever.
I can’t help but start with one of my favorites – Meme loved to shop. I feel like a kindred spirit to her for that! I never met another grandmother more stylish or more put together. Having worked in a shoe store for many years, she knew the value of a great shoe. When function became as important as form in recent years, she was still so stylish, wearing Tom’s and Birkenstocks right along with the rest of us. But she had her fair share of Ferragamos over the years – if only we wore the same shoe size! No doubt, she was always dressed for the occasion, wherever she went. And she cared about how she presented herself, whether it was for meeting friends to play cards or going to church.
And speaking of church. Oh she loved Jesus. She was asking for study Bibles to help grow her faith as late as last year – always wanting to learn more about her savior and know more about his love for her. I so admire how her faith led her and held her up over the years as she bid farewell to so many loved ones who went before her. I know she was so thrilled to see those faces at the gates of heaven. Her beloved husband and son who went before her. Parents, siblings, friends. She said goodbye to all of them over the years and I’m thankful she is with them again.
She loved her family fiercely. She had a big family but my best memories were of her two sisters, Marie and Gertrude. There were so cute together – like three peas in a pod. I used to giggle at how they all liked to shop and buy the same things together. That is, until I started to do the same with my sisters. It’s funny how that works. They all had unique struggles in their lives and I so admire how they held each other up and supported each other through tragedy and triumph. I hope I can be as loyal to my sisters in the years we have ahead.
I cannot forget to mention how spirited she was and one way she showed that was in her love of games. Some of my earliest memories were playing cards with her – no cheating allowed! And she was competitive, I think I might have gotten a little of that from her. I know great relationships were formed and grew over many years of playing rook with her friends. She even picked up bridge in her 90’s. And she loved to watch a good game. She was an athlete in her youth and enjoyed watching basketball or football on game days with the rest of us.
I admire what a true southern lady she was. My dear friend referred to her as a Steel Magnolia and he was so right. When we were young and visited for weekends or holidays, she was always in the kitchen, making homemade biscuits, fried pies or her famous chocolate cake. I loved sitting at the counter watching her roll out the dough and sip on her coffee – breakfast was always her favorite meal of the day. And she was the perfect host. I know my mom, my sisters and I are all grateful for what we learned watching her tend to others in her home. I remember that she always had a wedge of cheese on the table and doublemint gum (only 1/2 a stick please) in her purse. She always was thinking of others.
I know we are the luckiest, to have had so many beautiful years with her. And I am so grateful I was able to name one of my daughters after her. Abigail Frances, you should feel so blessed to share her name and also to have had 8 sweet years with her here on earth. And while we shed tears of sadness for ourselves today, truly it is also of joy for her, to have finally met her maker and join those who have gone before her. I look forward to the day when we are together again.