My Bobbie is actually my grandmother. She is my mom’s mom. My mom, being the oldest of 3, was the first to get married and start a family. So, I had the honor of being the first grandchild to Bobbie and Bill Ellis. Well, as you can imagine, they were ecstatic to see me! 😉 However, Bobbie was not so ready to be tagged as “grandma”. So, she decided that they would simply be called by their first names. Believe me, this was very confusing to many of my friends as I was growing up. Not only was it strange to them that I called my grandparents by their first names, but the fact that my grandmother’s name was “Bobbie”, tended to throw everyone for a loop as well.
I have a ton of great memories with my Bobbie and Bill. Luckily they were both still young and full of energy and willing to take me on for extended periods of time in the summer. As I got older, they would let me bring a friend with me on my visits. It is funny how I can barely remember what I did last week, but I can vividly remember ice cream sundaes and swimming at their house. They lived in Bryan/College Station. My grandfather was a professor there at Texas A&M. It was always cool and exciting to be in a college town and explore campus, especially as I got older.
My Bobbie called me last week. She is in an assisted living facility in Louisiana. We had a nice conversation, and believe me, she is still very much with it. She has always had an excellent memory, even after undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor when I was in younger. As we were hanging up she said, “I love you all, and I want you to keep loving me”. I have had her on my mind since that call. I was thinking about all of the things I have learned from her over the years. There are definitely too many to condense into one list, but, I know for sure these have to be the top 6.
- Family is extremely important, and should be made a priority-despite distance. Bobbie insisted that we make it happen when we could. If that meant she and my grandfather having to be more flexible, or vice versa. It was important that we carve out time to spend together consistently. This meant not only being around each other, but making it quality time. Sit down and “visit”. Really talk and catch up. Enjoy our time together.
- Friends and socializing are extremely important, and should also be made a priority. My grandparents had more friends in more states (and overseas, for that matter), than anyone I have ever known! They loved to go out with friends, and truly enjoyed meeting new people. To this day, Bobbie can go somewhere and instantly make a new friend, LOL.
- Marriage is hard work; but it is worth the effort to find and keep your soulmate to grow old together with. Loving companionship is vital to your health. Bobbie and Bill truly loved each other. They amazed me as to how they were able to keep that spark and freshness after so many years of marriage. Through tough health issues, the loss of a child, raising children, and caring for aging parents, they held it together. They supported each other. They did not give up. It would have been easy to quit. They were part of the old school way of thinking that the grass may look greener on the other side, but, it really isn’t. Bobbie lost Bill several years ago, and she still talks to him. I love her for that, and for the example she and Bill set for myself and the generations to follow. 🙂
- Try to find the good in everyone. I have always admired Bobbie for finding something nice to say about others, even when they may not be at their shiniest moment in life. She has a forgiving heart, and tries to look straight through to a person’s soul.
- Be an open-minded person. There are always two sides to every story, and you never know what battles others may be facing in their lives. I am amazed at how open-minded my grandmother is. She grew up in a very different time. Yet, she seems to be the last person to pass judgement on those that have a different lifestyle or make choices that go against the grain. She is definitely one of the most fair people I know. You can pretty much tell her anything, and expect that she will listen without shock or jumping to conclusions before taking it all in.
- Take pride in your appearance. Let me begin here by saying that I am not really your typical “dressy up” kind of girl. In fact, most days you will find me in my “active wear”, LOL. However, I do take pride in my appearance. Let me assure you that if there are days that I am not feeling well, I make it a point to be homebound (or at least try). Bobbie always stressed the importance of trying to look your best and take care of yourself. You never know who you will run into when you head out the door…that, my friends, is the TRUTH!