Dorothy June Zimmerman
(June 07, 1928 -- December 29, 2011)
Dorothy June Zimmerman was the 7th of 8 children---(... 4 boys & 4 girls...). Yesterday---(June 7th, 2012)---was the anniversary of her birthday....
To me, the stereotypical grandmother is the grandmother that embodies laughter & smiles. This is how I remember my father's mother (... Grandma Z...).
Ahhh, Grandma Z. When I was a kid, she kept the best-tasting grape juice in her fridge. There will never be corn chowder that can top hers, and -- for some mysterious reason -- no one can make pickled eggs better than hers.
Like da zimdog, she was a human of simple taste & natural intelligence. When I asked my dad what level of education she completed, he told me she had no official education beyond the 8th grade. She was raised on a farm in Carsonville, PA, and couldn't find transportation to Halifax (... the nearest town with a high school...).
So, instead of learning from the structure curriculum of a high school, she learned about existence from Nature. The family farm included many animals that she would've known on a personal basis (... in addition to being familiar with the apple orchard & the plot of Christmas trees...).
Last June 7th (... on her 83rd birthday...), I spoke with Grandma Z. on the phone. That conversation came just two weeks after my grandfather died. At the time, she was also recovering from cancer treatment (... not to mention, the trauma of the cancer itself...).
As I paced around my backyard -- phone in hand (... asking her about her birthday dinner, and waiting for the right time to ask her about the various other things that might be on her mind...) -- I couldn't mistake hearing the bright side of life resonating in her responses. Despite being beat down by the recent threat of her own death---(... & the very-real death of her soul mate...)---she still put forth the effort of speaking with positive consideration....
Yep. That was Grandma Z. She was a woman of simple love. She loved my grandfather; she loved my father; she loved my uncles & aunt. She loved spouses; she loved my brother, my cousins, & me (... which isn't even to mention all the great-grandchildren she knew and loved...).
In other words, she loved the Zimmermans (... even those that did something unkind...). When an aunt-in-law would divorce from the family, Grandma Z. would cover that aunt-in-law's face in family photos (... with a Mr. Yuk sticker...). Even her most vindictive actions were expressed with the humor of love (... which only made her easier to love...).
In doing so, Grandma Z. was living proof that people can establish mutual respect. The Golden Rule was neither mantra nor catch phrase to her....
(The Golden Rule was a life lived well....)
When she met Russell Lloyd Zimmerman at a party one evening, they connected over the coincidence of sharing the Zimmerman surname. The way my mom puts it, my grandparents then researched to make sure there would be no mutant Zimmermans. When it was decided that genetic abnormalities would not be an issue, the Zimmerman-Zimmerman union proceeded from there....
. . . .
Yesterday---(... conversing with my father...)---I learned all sorts of things about Grandma Z. that I never knew while she was alive (... i.e. her admiration for the poetry of Robert Frost, her musical ability on piano, etc...).
Immediately, I had no trouble connecting with these previously unknown aspects of her reality. I could easily imagine her helping my dad with his homework... (... a cosmic connection I share as a tutor...). Likewise, my dad spoke of her wise ways with such profound remembrance that it wasn't difficult for me to remember her anew in similar ways.
Regardless of any neurosis or cynicism I develop in this life, I can easily say -- without hesitation or regret -- that I will always remember Grandma Z. as an angel....
. . . .
In figuring out how to end this eulogy, I reached for the book she & Pop sent me for Christmas one year. It's an awesome hardcover copy of The Wizard of Oz (... with gilded pages, an attached ribbon bookmark, & excellent glossy color illustrations...).
All she wrote facing the title page was:
For her, what counted was the thought of giving a special gift. (Did I mention she was humble...?) For example, I don't ever remember her asking me if I wanted a quilt. Instead, she just made me one & gave it to me (... with simple, unconditional love...).
(I sleep under that quilt every night....)
I suppose that's the difference between the psyches of our respective generations. Whereas my generation just knows to expect gifts at certain times of the year, her generation was a kindhearted generation that asked for very little in return. As a result, Grandma Z. sought to encounter life's rewards by giving gifts....
(... Christmas presents...,)
Because of her selfless giving, I never quite knew what to get her in return. That's why I usually just gave her my love.
So---(now)---the last gift I will give her is a simple one (... by modern standards...). I will hope (... for her sake...) that her death released the peaceful spirit of her heart... (... back to the stars... (... from which she came...)).
She was truly a cosmic woman, and I will miss her kind spirit for the rest of my life (... until that point in time when our spirits are reunited...).
I love you, Grandma Z...!