I always lived far away from my grandmother. I left home when I was 18 years old and lived in such remote cities as San Francisco; Providence, Rhode Island; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey; Midland, Michigan; and Ohio. Dora stayed in Arizona, until my father retired and they moved to San Diego. In the last years of her life, I was only able to visit every few years when I made a trip west. With telephone calls, I got to know her as "The Weak Little Voice"
I always had a feeling of concern and wonderment each time she answered the phone. The voice was so low and weak I could hardly hear it. I knew that she was old and frail. Nevertheless, it was still a surprise each time I heard her voice. She had been ill for so long, 49 years at least. I didn't think much about it until I heard her voice,.
She was not bed ridden or in a wheel chair but she had heart and other problems limiting her physical activities. But wait! Just listen a little longer. It is always the same. At last, belatedly she recognized me. The voice rose to the occasion. Full of interest and excitement. She would ask, "How are you son?" Now the voice was loud and clear, at least to the full extent of her fragile 85 pound body.
Just bring up something controversial: family problems, politics or the injustice at the world and the voice is no longer tired. It became filled with conviction and emotion. She was always determined, courageous, supportive and sympathetic, polite and understanding, when she needed to be. But she was an obstinate and demanding person when she thought she was right.
Always the independent self sufficient matriarch of the family, even with her frailties at the age of 95. Can it be that this weak little voice answering the phone was all of those things?
Donald, Alice, Don's wife Betty, Oliver's wife Mary, Oliver & Alice's husband John
You bet it can! Dora's children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and friends would still seek her support by phone, letters and in person. They would find out how she was and get her support and advice. It was that way until the day she died at 95. Her daughter, my sister Alice, worked hard to make it possible for her to live alone and as independently as possible. Unfortunatelly my sister, Alice, who expected to live to be 100 years, died in 1996, sick in a nursing home, at the age of 86.
Why did mother live so long? I believe because nothing bored her. She read everything and listened to people. She felt and could feel the irritations of others. She was interested in the people she met. It was a way to stay young in spirit. This lady, my mother, had been all of those things and more to her children, husband and friends as long as I could remember.
Don't get me wrong, Dora was not perfect. She was the first to admit it, as she frequently reminded us. While she was not perfect, her confidence in herself showed through.