Monday, February 27, 2012

aunt opie

my grandmother irene was one of 5 girls. edith, evie, onie, irene and opie. yesterday we celebrated the life of the youngest and last of those hardwick sisters. opie lived to be 95 amazing years old and until the last day of her life she was funny, feisty, had her mind and an opinion to share. opie's daughter judy adopted my 2 little brothers when our mom died, so she was more than just my great aunt, she was my brother's grandma. (confusing-but not really- ).   : )

opie and her husband had 4 girls and she was a farm wife. she was hilariously frugal. some of my favorite funny stories about her are that having been a child of the depression, she saved everything. she'd reuse tinfoil, bags, gift wrap...the normal things that generation was so careful with.

the thing about aunt opie though was that she took it a couple steps further, for instance she would take a hot water bottle to bed with her at night and then in the morning-pour the water out of it and use it to make her oatmeal. yumm-mee---hook me up with some of that heart healthy oatmeal! remember-the girl lived to be a ripe old 95 tho. i don't care if her oatmeal did taste a bit like rubber, it must have still been just as healthy!
one other funny "opie-ism" i have to share, is that she would come in from working outside and go to the bathroom and wash her feet in the toilet bowl. when we teased her about it, she'd say "well that's just cold, clean water in there". she was only about 5 feet tall and i don't think she could get her foot up in the sink to wash them quick like i've been known to do.

i asked my brother what some of his favorite memories of opie were, and he said, when they'd stay overnight he remembers waking up to the smell of delicious breakfasts and that she was such a good cook. another favorite was that his grandpa took him out hunting and he shot his first goose there. i guess opie hand plucked that goose, (which is very hard to do) and then cooked it for him.

 opie was outspoken and she outlived 2 husbands. she was legally blind for many years but she'd get around town on a scooter chair. she'd type long, long letters to people and mail them. they'd be full of stories of neighbors of hers that none of us knew, but she would go on and on about the details of a meal she'd had with them listing each food served, and she was always listing how much things cost. she had a particular thing about toilet paper and when my grama was still alive, she'd bring her some as a hostess gift!! she felt sorry for my gram, who had a really big family-cause she always said she just couldn't IMAGINE having to buy that much toilet paper! how funny is that?

i guess opie planned her own funeral for a long time. several of her great grandchildren were part of her service. the front of the church was lined with pink flowers, her favorite color. the pews were full and i was very touched when i happened to notice that a whole row of little white haired ladies, most likely friends from this small town, were weeping softly and wiping their eyes after her grandson sang.

i cry easily, but i did not even get choked up at this service. the only emotion i felt yesterday in that beautiful little church was a sense of a life well lived. when you die peacefully in your own bed at 95 years of age, that's a good life.

                                     xo, beth

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