Posts Tagged With: memory

Grams

I’d like to start this post by acknowledging that it’s been awhile since my most recent active blogging. I don’t have a list of reasons as I believe when you want to make something happen badly enough, you make it happen. So no excuses here, just the simple fact of life changing turns that put other priorities in need of my attention. So after a short break and rejuvenation, I’m back to writing with some exciting new updates coming soon!

Today is the 3rd of April. 82 years ago a beautiful spirit was born and I’m honored to say she played a major roll in my life. I’ve written before of people who have passed on in this lifetime and their impact on me and the memories that followed their departure… but I’ve sat here for too long with an abundance of words that aren’t forming any proper sentences. I feel that nothing can truly express my interpretation of the amazing woman named Marth Sue Young (Jackson).

(Enter hours of staring at a blank screen here)

Still without a quality beginning, I figured I’d just start by admitting that words and photos simply can not translate the significance of this bright smiling, warm hearted, stubborn, hard working, gorgeous woman that loved unconditionally. We called her Grams. Beyond raising three daughters and my dad, Grams was a wife, sister, aunt, great aunt, grandmother, great grandma and even survived the birth of her 2 great-great grandchildren! She fostered the youth with mental disabilities, cooked for new moms and often brought meals to local families in distress. Even in her weaker days she’d guide me in the kitchen to bake for someone in need. She rarely complained of her own discomfort and usually kept focus on her family. She was capable of making you do something (with love) without you even knowing you were doing it. She hand pushed her own lawn mower until she was 80 years old (and don’t dare to try and take that from her unless you’re prepared to lose a finger). Hungry? Before you could even answer she’d have a hot meal at your chin with dessert waiting. My uncle J.E said Sue was the only woman he knew that could walk into the kitchen, throw flour into the air and come out with an award winning coconut cream pie. She had magical powers.

When I was young we used to sit together and watch the Price is Right after eating her famous pancakes that she had so creatively designed into recognizable designs. We’d flip through warn pages of the Sears “Maz-uh-geen” (apparently that’s how I used to pronounce “magazine”) while nibbling on Cheeze-Its. I’d ride buddy style on the back of her bike as we’d chase the ice cream man to get our favorite vanilla cones. Many more precious years allowed for several cooking lessons, summer vacations, late night frozen yogurts and countless hours of putting together puzzles. Priceless memories to say the least.

When I loaded up to start backpacking over 5 years ago, she kept her spare room ready for my return and the kitchen stocked with my favorites. I’d bring back international treats that we’d giggle in question if it was edible or not. I’d show her bizarre photos from abroad and eagerly answer her intriguing questions that often led to stories of my travels. 

If you’ve been following this blog, chances are you’ve read several posts written directly from her front room. Here’s one of the last photos I captured as I wrote in my usual spot with the view of our typical silly socks.

This is where I feel a heart felt message would be appropriate about how she’s gone but her spirit still lives or maybe a few quotes about how she’ll never be forgotten… but I must admit again, words don’t even scrape the surface of her everlasting presence. I’m confident to speak for other family members and dear friends when I say that Sue Jackson Young is and always will be unforgettable.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

A friend I never met.

Every year for Cropover I write about the music, costumes, friends and fun that comes with trekking down the road on the first Monday of August. This year marks a different kind of post with an unexpected turn of events. I say with a heavy heart that the world lost a well known “happy go lucky” girl during the Grand Kadooment. As the participants split to let the ambulance go through, I believe nobody could fathom the purpose of this emergency vehicle. August 1, 2016 Renee Sheppard Ratcliffe had callapsed and was taken away to rest in peace.

Renee was a leader in events and was often called upon for a “good belly laugh” or “sincere hug”. “You either loved her or hated to love her becasue she was real… All of the time”. 

I use quotes because I personally never got the privilege of meeting Renee, these are just words I’m hearing from my friends who knew her well. With a passion for life she was very active in the community, often reaching beyond the call of duty and supporting local gatherings. From Cropover to her twin boys, it seems Renee had a abundunce of loving energy and an unstoppable driving force. 

Judging alone from the photos being spread around, who wouldn’t want to be this girls friend?! The smiles, the mid laughter snap shots, her enthusiasm for well… Everything! From her admiration of dragonflies to the color purple, Renee has made an impression that will stick with the loved ones she departed from as well as the strangers (like myself) that now know of her spirit.


I watched the shock spread across the crowd as the day progressed, the struggle was clear. Do we all go home and try to absorb what had just happened or should we power through and continue jumping in her name. Considering she was a bandleader and designer, Cropover was when she was in her highest of element. In fact, she had just been interviewed prior to us taking the road. I believe her passion for this celebration guided most to live it up even harder and finish strong as Renee, (from the sounds of it) wouldn’t of wanted it any other way. 

After the costumes were retired and all settled down, the island joined to honor her name with a proper setting and peaceful ceremony. 

Renee, I thank you for the impact you’ve recently made in the world that surrounds me. Your story is just one more addition amplifying my gratitude for this fragile life. I’ll allow your quick departure to be a positive reality check in my own daily routine… that I don’t pass up the opportunity to greet someone with a smile, laugh a little louder, love unconditionally and be thankful for my health and very existence.

“Realize deeply, that the present moment is all you ever have.” Eckhart Tolle

“Maybe the best thing to do is stop figuring where you’re going and start enjoying where you’re at.”

“Spread love wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” Mothe Teresa

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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