Your Great Grandma’s name was Ruth Winifred Shaffer (Parker).
She gave me my red hair, my blue-gray eyes (she called it dishwater blue), my short legs.
I remember her best in their apartment in Greece, sitting in her recliner, sewing together a pillow. She used to drop the push pins onto the thick brown carpet and I would search out their round colored heads for her.
She liked to wear bright colored moo moos at home, and never left the house without her perfume and costume jewelry.
She never had pierced ears and always favored large clip-on earrings.
She laughed easy and called me “doll.”
She’d make me laugh by randomly shaking her hips to a song in the middle of their living room.
Sometimes I’d spend the day at their apartment, and while she napped with your Great Grandpa in the living room, I would explore her costume jewelry collection (even though I wasn’t supposed to). She kept it on her dresser in a table top storage unit designed for nails and screws. So many tiny drawers to quietly pull out and pour over; hundreds of rhinestones, plastic beads and pins.
Perfume samples were another of her collections. I would carefully wiggle off the caps of the tiny plastic tubes and breathe them in. I wasn’t supposed to do that, either.
I used to think she wore too much perfume. She came to my elementary school once, and I told my friends I could smell her coming from down the hall. Sometimes now the smell of someone else’s perfume will remind me of her, just strangers walking by me, and I’m flooded with memories of her. After she died the smell of her perfume lingered on one of her old silk scarves for years. I kept it stashed away to try and make it stay.
She always slept with her feet uncovered, when she napped in her recliner, and later in the hospital.
She liked to sing “You Are My Sunshine” in her funny, off key way, and whenever that song pops into my head I can’t help but wonder if she’s hovering nearby.
She hugged close, and always felt like home to me.
She was one of my favorite people, and so are you.