Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I have just spent the last week plus in a state of acceptance and unexplained anger over the death of my ninety-four-year-old grandmother. Sure, she had spent several years beyond life’s expectations on this earth, but in lieu of her not getting a proper “spoken’ eulogy, I wanted to share the one that I was never able to do so. So, here it goes.

Tonight we celebrate the life of Pauline Cavallari. During her ninety-four-years of life she would be called a devoted wife, sister, and friend but most of us have come to know her simply as, Grams or Grandma.


Grandma had a laugh that was so contagious, it could travel straight from your belly and into your soul. I like to think that this was a part of her inner child that never seemed to fade even until her final days on this earth. Grandma got so much enjoyment out of the little things in life: the turning color of leaves in the fall, the glow of Christmas lights during the holidays or studying birds outside of her window. Grandma was an animal lover. During her life, Grandma bred and showed fox terriers and later had a number of beloved pets that we all remember. Who could forget the gentle nature of her salt-and -pepper miniature schnauzer, Minnie and a black miniature schnauzer named, Chance.

When her Granddaughter Lisa was born, Lisa’s parents worked many hours, so Grandma took Lisa under her wing. As Lisa put it, Grandma always wanted her around. Grandma’s relationship and kindness to Lisa came full circle, and Lisa had the opportunity to be there for Grandma throughout her life until the very end.


Take for instance the day that she carted her three children, Susan, Philip and Tony over 11 miles from Lansing to Grandpa Cavallari’s parents house all to help her daughter earn a Girls’ Scout patch. Those of us that are moms, know that this was no easy feat. Several blisters later, they accomplished their mission.

Perhaps one of Grandma’s best talents was her gift for knitting, quilting and creating thoughtful and original works of art. If there was a tissue box, Grandma knew over a million ways to turn it into something unique or special be it a present, package or storage container. She loved knitting her famous booties that warmed the feet of generations of babies across the country.

One of my most cherished items was a box that Grandma made for me on my tenth birthday. On the cover, was a hand-stitched message that read: Angela’s Own Correspondence Box. Inside, it was filled with stationary items so that we could exchange letters, and we did.

As a young adult, Grandma once rode the famous Cyclone roller-coaster at Coney Island in New York. The experience stuck with her so much, that she decided to share her thrill for well....thrills with her children. So, one sunny morning, Grandma took her children to Chicago’s Riverview Park at Western and Belmont. The mission that day? To ride every roller-coaster in the amusement park. The first coaster that they rode was the The Green Streak, followed by other popular park staples including: the Comet, Greyhound and of course, The Bobs. What is commonly described as a, “scream fest” by her son, Philip, turned out to be one of his most cherished memories.
These are just a few of the many memories that Grandma left us with, and I know that we would do Grandma proud to share her stories and keep them in a special place in our hearts where we can call on her anytime.

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