I have been very lucky to not only have a great, large family on my “side of the aisle” but also that Nancy had a great Mom named Ann, and Nancy’s brother and sister and their families. Unfortunately, Nancy’s Dad left his family when the kids were teenagers and he pretty much drove a wedge between him and the rest of the family.
When Ann’s first grandchild was born, she decided she wanted to be called “Granny.” That was until our first son was born and he was just starting to talk and he realized that Granny had a doggie. So he called her “Gobby” (like Bobby). Ann instantly fell in love with her new name and adopted it. In fact, I think several of her friends started calling her that instead of Ann.
Gobby was the nicest, kindest person you have ever met. When I asked for her permission to marry Nancy, between crying and laughing she gave me a huge bear hug. I took that as a “yes.”
When Nancy was a young teenager, her family made the big move from central Orange County, CA to a sleepy little beach town in southern Orange County called San Clemente. They bought a house with a back patio overlooking a fairway to a public golf course. Later, every once in a while retired President Nixon would play a round on the golf course there. He was always preceded by a couple of Secret Service sharp shooters and the people knew the routine was to stay inside while he played through. That is, all except Gobby’s dachshund named Eloise. Whenever Nixon was nearby, Eloise would tear down the hill barking her head off at him. So of course Gobby would go out onto her patio yelling in her high voice “Eloise, Eloise! Get back up here! Eloise!”
I could just imagine the Secret Service radios: “This is Shooter #2. We have a bogey at 11 o’clock!” Then, “this is Shooter #1. Stand down #2, it is only Gobby.” And as she stood there yelling down at her dog, you would hear Nixon’s classic, sonorous voice saying “Eloise! Get back up there, Eloise!” Eloise obviously had a good sense for people. She probably wouldn’t have liked Checkers, either. For any of you who are too young to understand that reference, GTS (Google that shit).
When she was fighting breast cancer she was sitting and talking with Nancy. Nancy recounted how she had heard that if your telephone rang and nobody is there when you pick it up, it might be someone who has died just letting you know they are around. So Nancy joked with her Mom that they should work out their signals now, so she would know when Gobby was around. Without missing a beat, Gobby said “Oh, we can’t tell you about that stuff.” After they cracked up, Gobby said “I’ll tell you what. When you are all by yourself in a room and you smell a fart, you will know I am there with you.”
Later, after a large, soft tissue tumor required them to amputate Gobby’s left leg at her hip, she was forced to spend her time in a wheelchair. But undaunted as she was by all of that, she drove Nancy and her buddy Anita crazy with her desire to go to Nordstrom to buy a cute pair of summer deck shoes. Always the realist, Nancy said “Mom, you only have one leg! We’re not going to get you a new pair of shoes.” To which Gobby replied, “Maybe we can find someone who had their right leg amputated and we can share with her?” She was truly one of a kind. Gobby has since past, but more of that in a later post.