How do you measure a life well lived? My thoughts turn to who a person touched, who they loved and their legacy. We lost a pillar of strength today, my grandmother Nannie May Johnson. She was 82 years old. Nannie was a leader, serving in church as a Deaconess and working as a floor manager at the Clopay factory her entire adult life until she retired. She married my Grandad at 18 and together they had 7 children, five girls and two boys, the oldest of whom is my dad. She worked and raised my Dad, while Grandad earned his Bachelors in Education from Tuskegee University.
There are so many memories, that I’ll just share a few… Grandma was a great mom, dearly loved by all of her children. She loved to sit and chat by phone with my Dad about everything going on in his life, including my sister and I and what we were up to. Grandma had a flair for fashion and at 5’10 was a staturesque picture of the modern woman. Grandma was huge on using proper English and making a good impression.
She and my Grandfather loved to speed walk the mall for fun. I remember being a middle schooler walking with them at the mall and marveling at how “old people” (to my young eyes) could walk that fast! They loved to stay fit walking so they could enjoy dessert and eating out together.
Since we lived in Germany while I was growing up, it was difficult to see family on a regular basis. So in the summer, my parents would take us back to the US to spend a few weeks with my Grandparents. What times we had! Just laying in bed with Grandma watching Gunsmoke reruns, and talking about life when my Dad was a kid. Or going to church on Sunday, wearing our white gloves and dresses, and then having a wonderful dinner at her house afterwards. Or cooking together, rice pudding, baking the fish that my Grandad would catch, just being together really.
My Grandma loved to decorate and it was one of her hobbies after retiring. She could make any room so cozy and sweet. She loved to collect pig figurines, iconic little figures that spoke to her country roots, down home cooking and country style.
The biggest impression that Grandma made on me was her love for my Grandfather. She was devoted to him, always taking care of his needs before her own and speaking of him with a sweet respect and reverence that you really don’t hear nowadays. She always spoke of God’s blessings in her life, her family, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, home and church. Nannie Johnson was a kind God fearing woman. I’ll miss her greatly, but I am assured that “absent with the body is present with the Lord”. By the measures that matter, she had a life well lived…
|Nannie and Elbert Johnson|