Precinct 333

Monday, June 21, 2004

From the depths of my heart, with love.

My grandmother, Mary Travelstead, passed away this morning after a short illness following a stroke. She was 92. She was on her own until a month ago, but the body just gave out.

Grandma always said she would make a terrible invalid, and that she didn't want to linger on if her mind went. She didn't, and I take comfort in that.

If I exclude faith and love (both of which she had in abundance), I would say that her great legacy to the family is education. Born in an age when few went to college, she managed to find scholarships to send all four of her children off to college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, even though their father never saw the worth of a college education to a small town kid. While Aunt Audrey came back without a degree to marry her boyfriend, the other three made the most of their educations. Uncle Stan was the librarian at Marion High School in Marion, Illinois for many years. Aunt Wilma taught school and eventually became a principal in Lincoln, Nebraska. My dad, Roger, served 27 years as an officer in the US Navy before turning his sights to education as a college professor and a Job Corps administrator. None of the three holds less than a Master's Degree, and there is at least one Ph.D. among them. She eventually went to college herself, and earned an Associate's Degree in Mental Health in her 60s. As I look at those of us who are blessed to have been her grandchildren, I can't help but notice that having only a BA makes you average, and having less a slacker. Quite a legacy she left us there.

There has been quite a distance between us since my wife and I moved to Houston. Making it back to Illinois for a visit hasn't been an option for several years, but we talked nearly every week. I'll miss that. But let me end with the words that concluded so many phone calls the last few years.

I love you, Grandma. I'll come home to you when I can.


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