No More MaryMa

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Every time I use a toothpick, see a tiny jar of pimientos, eat a Fun-Size Snickers Bar, see Merle Norman cosmetics or a pair of canvas Tom’s, or pass a display of magnets at a gift store, I think of MaryMa.

She was my last grandparent to die, 1 year and 4 days ago. I was reminded by my One-Sentence Journal that she passed away last November 25 and we had her funeral service on November 28.’s this moment, I think, that the reality of death finally hits. When you put the body - the body that dreamed and worked and ate and sang and loved - when you put that body into the ground and walk away from it.
— Hannah Anderson, Humble Roots

MaryMa’s was the body that made her own pimiento cheese, bought Snickers and Vienna Sausages for my granddaddy, kept a Lazy Susan on the kitchen table, collected magnets for the door of her refrigerator, rotated about five pairs of Tom’s and always wanted to order the shoes from a catalog over the phone, never owned a microwave or a dishwasher, read The Upper Room devotional, hung her clothes on a clothesline, and drove her dark gray Monte Carlo with the personalized license plate “MaryMa.”

She was also the person who told me, again and again, throughout my life that she loved me “the whole world full.” She loved my kids another world full.


It seems at any time, I should just be able to pick up the phone and call MaryMa like I used to. I have that feeling that Alex Witchel writes about in her memoir All Gone, of being “still firm in the belief that my mother [or grandmother] could be found on the other end of that phone for all eternity…” I would call MaryMa while I was driving or when I was working in the kitchen, knowing she was likely to have her apron on too. I would call her just to talk, and because I knew she would be there. If she wasn’t there, I knew she would be out at Food Lion getting a few groceries and would be home soon.

She is really home now, but I miss her. I miss her handwriting and I miss her love.