Dear Rosa,

Your daughter, Mary, was a tough woman with hard edges and god, I loved her. Forget the sun, the universe revolved around Gram.

She lived there all her life, her house on Summer street. Raised her babies in that tiny place and watched them grow to adult. Buried far too many way before their time. She was loyal to them, but not to their spouses. Us grand-kids… well, she was sparse with her display of affection, like it cost money or some damn thing just to give a hug or say words of encouragement. Still, she was my world.

Sunday mornings were for Church. Dad and mom would pack us off to St. John’s for mass and then we’d head to Gram’s. It was an event and who needed fellowship after? She provided everything.

The local uncles would arrive, Earle, Clarence and Everett and take over the kitchen for the visit. Us kids would head directly for the side table to sneak up the biggest piece of chocolate cake we could then head to the dining room to eat. Place smelled of fresh coffee and cake and sometimes, goulash. Gram made good goulash. Some would call it spaghetti, we called it, well, goulash. It was the only form dad would eat spaghetti sauce. Mom could never replicate the recipe. It just wasn’t Gram’s.

And the cake… the cake would last until Thursday or so.

Gram, can I have some cake?

We knew she’d get mad if we disturbed her soaps, but it seemed weird to walk into her house without asking.

You know where it’s kept, she waved at the pantry, go, she muttered, get it yourself. Just don’t leave a mess…

She raised eight babies alone. Watched her husband leave from her stoop as he headed off to Arizona for his health. She never talked of him, never divorced, never gave up being “Mrs. Ferry.” I only met him a few times, after he came back to die. He smelled salty, I remember and used an Indian blanket he’d brought back to fight off the Vermont chill. All I have of him is the rattlers from the rattlesnakes he killed and a few grainy photos. He never meant anything to me. Might as well as been the planet Pluto orbiting the far reaches of our universe…

Mary had no hearing. The Mills took it when she was still young. She’d sit by her cookstove on a tall stool and just watch the conversation and it only seemed to make her mad if you tried to engage her – she preferred to let others do the talking.

Tough love, I suppose but there was nothing gray about Mary. You loved her and you hated her.

I would give anything to see her again.


I’d like to send a heartfelt thank you to Teresa Cleveland Wendell for nominating this site. You can find her lovely blog at:  Be prepared to laugh at life’s joys and cry at its sorrows. She is a wonderful writer and a masterful story-teller.

I’d also like to pass this honor along and nominate the following three bloggers for this award. – a blog where an artist looks for inspiration from nature and all things celtic – she’s just the coolest woman ever! – an aspiring writer that has self-published and is just looking for a break…

and – another writer who’s just looking for some love…

To accept this award, copy the sunflower and post it on your blog, nominate 3 other bloggers, and tell us 7 things about yourself. 

Now, onto the 7 things about Susan:

I’m small, but tough.

I love to write. I hate Vermont winters.

I’m an artist and am currently illustrating a picture book for a dear friend.

I’m fascinated with all things Irish.

I am not Irish.

My husband is.


11 thoughts on “Mary

    1. thank you Teresa – it’s been a good day. Always is when I hear from you – and now you’ve gone and touched my heart. I’ve followed your format – hope it works right.
      I’m so glad we found each other!

  1. Thank you so much for the nomination. I truly appreciate the time and regard. I really loved your letter about your Grams. I lost mine this year actually and I know the connection you speak of. Mine died, she was 102 years old, I was very fortunate to have her for so long. Anyway, thanks for the love. I look forward to reading more letters to Rosa. Btw, my grams name was Rosa. Serendipity I think 😉

    1. Isn’t that amazing! And my blogging friend, Teresa (from bellybuttonblues) her gram was Scottish and named Blair (Rosa Blair!). It is a small world. I’m sorry to hear of your loss and glad you had her for so long. Mary, my gram, was determined to make it to 90. She died just a month shy of that.
      Best to you and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

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