I first met Mona and Al at their home in Gresham. I had dated Beverly for about three weeks and Bev said it was time to meet her folks. I will never forget how Mona instantly made me feel like I was one of her family. I thought I was special for that but would later learn that she made everybody she met feel that way. On my first visit we spent some time chatting and then she proceeded to show me some of the flowers in her yard. She could have shown me the roses or the hollyhocks or the daisies but instead she showed me only two very specific flowers. One was the Bridal Wreath and the other was Bachelor Button. I think she also mentioned that she thought the Bridal Wreath was a much nicer flower than the Bachelor Button. As usual, she was right.
As with so many others she instantly became a mom to me and for that I will forever be grateful to her. She would introduce me as her son, not a son-in-law. That was an honor and a testimony to my relationship with her. I always tried to treat her and care for her as I did my biological mother. She was indeed a special lady.
As time passed, for many people, including me, Mona gained a new identity. Instead of being known as Mona she became known as “Granni”. All of her grand kids called her Granni and all of their friends called her “Granni”. Many adult friends also called her “Granni”. And, she loved it. She was a “Granni” to many people who needed a Granni in their life whatever age they were. Whenever she would call our house I would answer and say “Hi Granni” and she would always say “Hi Son”. I would usually start the conversation by asking how she was doing and, as a way to highlight her usual optimistic sprit, I would ask how her soccer game went that day and she would always laugh. When she fell and broke her hip and had the pin installed I told her that once the other team heard about the pin in her hip they would probably forfeit the game rather that face somebody as tough as her. During her last stay in the hospital I told her that I told the team that she would be missing soccer practice for a few days but she would soon be back and as tough as ever. She laughed.
There are several phases of Granni’s life and my life that have connections besides my being married to her beautiful daughter. Granni was from Texas and Oklahoma and my biological mother was from Texas and Oklahoma. Al and Mona were married in Pocatello, Idaho, which is where I was born and raised. I often wonder if my parents ever met Al and Mona those many years ago in Texas, Oklahoma, or Pocatello. As a young boy I spent many hours in a movie theater that Al wired as an electrician. So Al and Mona were part of my life way before I officially met them and before Mona introduced me to Bridal Wreath.
I feel blessed to have had Mona/Granni as a mother and miss her deeply. As I am writing this I looked up at the shelf of books above our computer and the first book that caught my eye is a book titled “Simple Ways To Encourage Others”. I think she could have written that book because she encouraged so many people to think big and become the best they could be.
I love you Granni. The soccer team misses you.
Your son, Ralph
I will always hold dear the memory of our time when you visited us in Johnson City, NY and I came to know my Aunt and Uncle. You are now reunited with Uncle Louie and happy again.
I came to the US from Germany as an immigrant in 1954 and our family settled in Gresham. I was in the fourth grade at the time and it was difficult to make all the cultural adjustments and to learn a new language.
My best friend was Beverly Stayton (Adams) and I was privileged to get to know her mother, Mona. She was always an inspiration to me. I did not know if I could go to college and she said, “You can do anything that you set your mind to and work for”. She also inspired me to be a better cook as she taught me to appreciate many kinds of foods, including Chinese food and many other ethnic foods which we did not have at home.
While I cannot take credit for being a “great person” I must give Mona credit for making me a “better person” in many subtle ways. She never treated me like a guest or friend of her daughters but always as a member of the family.
I will always remember Mona and she will be missed by me as well.
Tamara called me on my cell on our third day of our hospital vigil. (She had already been to visit Mom, as had Geoff and baby Kaya and Mom had had some good times with them.) Tamara asked if she and Kaya could come by. I said of course, but warned her that Mom was not really conscious and was “halfway home to Albert”. She said that she understood that, but that she wanted to come to support me, which I appreciated very much.
Ralph had been there with me, but for a period of time I had been alone with Mom, listening to the music she loved and sitting with her peacefully. When Tam and the baby came in, she put Kaya in the chair and took out a quart of fresh strawberries and the three of us sat there eating strawberries in the sunny window with the 9th floor view and loving the baby and talking about seeing Mom out. Kaya loved the strawberries and made us laugh and I thought, “Mom is loving this.” Tamara picked up Mom’s lifelong tradition of providing picnics and good times for her loved ones and carried it forward.
Kaya pointed to Mom and lovingly said her name and Tam told her she was sleeping. Tam bundled the baby back up and went over and told Mom that she loved her and told her goodbye. She hugged Ralph as he came back in the door and they went on their way.
Mom said (even put it in her will) that she did not want a funeral, but a happy celebration and for life to go joyfully on. This strawberry picnic was one of many steps in that direction.
Love you, Mama
Hey Bev. Julie told me about Granny. She was an amazing woman and has left a wonderful legacy in you and Julie, and everyone else she met. Thinking of you guys in this time. Love ya!