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Friday, April 30, 2010

Goodbye to Granny

I am saddened to pass along the news that my great grandmother Evelyn Conley, lovingly referred to as Granny since I have known her, passed away on the morning of April 30. Granny had some health problems over the last few months and a turn for the worse on Tuesday brought about her passing this morning.

Granny's Mischievous Smirk

Granny lived a wonderful 96 years on this earth and will be severely missed in our family and to all those her knew her and were touched by her humor, graciousness, and quiet strength. I last saw Granny in September shortly after her 96th birthday. We came together at my favorite place in this world, Lake Chelan. Despite her age, Granny didn't miss a beat. As we sat in the cabin and my mother and I played cribbage, Granny could easily score the hands by sight before my mom even had a chance to think about card combinations and point values. Granny and I would sit on the porch, stare out at the boats passing by on the water, and chat while we picked our nails.

But these recent moments are not the ones I'll remember the most. Granny was an influential part of my life and one of the toughest parts of her passing is imagining our family without our matriarch. Granny's passing signals the end of a generation. Moreover, there is no possibility of additional memories and experiences that will happen with her in them. But I have a vault of happy times with Granny that will never go away.

Granny B&W

I'll never forget our struggles with pickling - no matter how much we scrubbed, we just couldn't get those cucumbers ready for pickling. So we emptied and cleaned the dishwasher and loaded those cucumbers into the top and bottom drawers. After a rinse cycle, they came out smooth and ready to join the dill from her garden.

And with Granny, trouble was never far behind. And for us, that often involved her 1972 Ford LTD II. That car was a boat, with easily an 8' front end housing a V8 engine. It was the first vehicle I ever drove, pretty much straight into an apple tree. I once witnessed Granny high center the vehicle on a huge boulder at Lake Chelan. And one Memorial Day at the Waterville Cemetery, that Ford LTD pulled the spigot head off a sprinkler and sent a geyser into the air. We couldn't get out of that cemetery and back to Orondo fast enough.

To me, Granny meant a guide for how stubborn I could be without losing the ability to be kind.

Granny was that relative that would let me have mint chocolate chip ice cream and Fruity Pebbles for breakfast during the summer.

Granny was always a lady who was offended if you didn't offer her a cold beer but wouldn't take it without a clean glass.

Granny was tan from gardening, had vegetables galore in the summer, and would never give up her yellow tractor sprinkler.

Granny offered a wealth of treasures in her house, from old postage stamps and coins to my favorite stuffed animal, a ragged monkey upstairs in the bedroom closet.

And Granny was always the source of a big smile, a mischievous laugh, a few words of wisdom, and a warm hug. I will miss your neck rubs with your cold hands. And I will miss knowing that you'll always be around. I'm not sure my name is still written on anything at your house, but I am proud to put my name on this tribute to you and proud to have known and loved you.

Contemplative Granny

Eric Lovelin Photography


  1. Eric,

    Thank you for this celebration of Granny. I don't recall meeting her, but your word let me know that that is my loss. Our condolences to you and your family.

  2. Oh Eric, I am so sorry for your loss. Your words, as always, are beautiful.

  3. Beautiful tribute, and very sorry to hear about this. How very lucky to have had a great-grandmother to share for so long!

  4. A great tribute. I would have liked to have spent some porch time with her. Sorry for your loss. N.

  5. What a beautiful post Eric. You really got Granny to a T. And I love the pictures! You really captured her sweetness and epic wrinkles that we all know and love...She always gave the best hugs.