Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Very Special Birthday for a Very Special Lady

Orlando Grandma in her beautiful Panamanian dress

Since I first met her in 1979, Orlando Grandma has been welcoming, inspiring, supportive, loving, and like a second mother to me.

College graduation, UF, 1981, Orlando G-ma, Mr. Tennis, Tita and The Boston Lady

I didn't know my maternal grandparents at all except through pictures and have just a few memories of my paternal ones as they died before I was 12 and lived far away.  That's why it has been wonderful having my children's grandparents play a more significant role in their lives.  My parents lived about 2 hours away until the last three years of their lives, when they moved to Orlando. BUT, Orlando Grandma has ALWAYS been here for us.

I've always admired her pluck and determination when tackling a daunting task.  She has enormous inner strength that comes from her deep faith, something I believe she inherited from her mother, our Tita.

One thing people always notice about Orlando Grandma is her wonderful smile.  In just about all the pictures I have of her she is smiling and that's the way she goes through life, spreading good cheer and making friends wherever she goes.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Orlando Grandma.  She could tell you the exact year and place, but my guess is she was a college coed at this time and Grandpa Courtney snapped this picture of her.  This picture shows that happiness that radiates from her.

Long before The Boston Lady came into the picture, Orlando Grandma was a young mother who took great joy in raising three young boys.

Another  picture taken by Courtney.  Tony, Orlando G-ma, Kurt and Mr. Tennis in their station wagon. The perfect 1960s family!

Tony and Mr. Tennis holding newborn Kurt

The adventurous young mother from Panama was used to roughing it at times and was game for all the camping trips the young family took together.  I have listened many times over the years about how she and Courtney pulled a little trailer behind their car and traveled all over the United States with the boys.  Even when Kurt was a young baby. 

They camped in a large blue family tent with Gramps, Grandma Rose and the boys in the badlands and listened to their tent inflating and deflating with the fierce winds there.  The boys had a little section of the tent to sleep in and the adults would play cards in another part of the tent with the wind howling outside.

The infamous little trailer that could.

Okay, I admit she looks a little tired in this shot, but who wouldn't be after wrangling three squirming
boys all day on the road?

Enjoying the outdoors with her three boys.

All her "boys": Tony, Baby Kurt, Mr. Tennis and Courtney

  I always felt very fortunate because my family and Mr. Tennis' family could always get together and have a good time.  Sometimes it was at our house for Christmas, or at Gramps' lake house or at Orlando Grandma's house.  It didn't matter where we were, everyone got along well and enjoyed each other's company.  My father loved to try out his limited Spanish skills with Orlando Grandma and she always was politely delighted by his attempts.

With Grandma Hughes in College Park, summer 1989.  My mother thought the world of Orlando Grandma

She has been on hand for the births of both The Writer and The Maven.

Orlando Grandma, The Writer and Tita, December 1984

With The Maven at Florida Hospital a day after she was born, March 1989

And she has continued to be there throughout their lives to lend support whether it be at a basketball game, a band concert, school graduation or just sitting quietly listening to The Maven playing her guitar.  She always has a big hug and smile for them.

That special smile with a funny-faced Maven, summer 1989

Mother's Day at Lake Eola 1991

Giving advice to a very stiff looking Writer, Christmas-time 1998

The Boston Lady, The Maven and Orlando Grandma Homecoming 2006

Cheering on The Maven's BHS May 2007 graduation

Another UF graduation, May 2007

With The Writer, Christmas 2008

Well, we aren't the only ones who benefit from her unconditional support and love.  Her other two sons, of course are older, but still like to hang out with their MaMa:

Looks like Tony got his Mom some new earrings for her birthday!

Kurt and Orlando G-ma in the 1990s.  They like to cheer The Orlando Magic on together!

We have the Gibson Family with two more of Orlando Grandma's grandchildren. 

Eddie, Maria Victoria with Grandma and Maria, around 1997 by my calculations.  This year Victoria turns 13! And of course, she was joined by Joseph about a year after this picture was taken.

Pretty Victoria, 2009

Joe in 2009, aspiring soccer player

Believe it or not youthful Orlando Grandma is also a great-grandmother!  The Maven's and Writer's cousin, Chelsea, Orlando G-ma's first grandchild, has two children of her own:

Visiting with cousin Chelsea and her daughter, Nevaeh, in Columbia, SC, Thanksgiving time 2003. Nevaeh now has a little brother, Bryson. (Chelsea, I am sorry I don't have a picture of Bryson!)

As I have sat here writing this entry it has occurred to me that this could be an endless tribute.  I simply do not have enough pictures or space to display or mention everyone who this wonderful woman has touched in her lifetime.  That is truly a great accomplishment by her and our family is so blessed to have her in our lives.

Happy Birthday Orlando Grandma!
February 9


KarenSue said...

Happy Birthday Orlando Grandma! You are one lucky lady to have The Boston Lady in your family. She sure is special and a great friend. But I'm sure you know that.

Alan said...

Fabulous job Boston Lady. As always an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

Orlando Grandma said...

Dearest BostonsLady,I'll try again
You have such an ability to pick part of the past and build up a great memory lane,thanks for your blog of Feb.9th.How did you know my "Pollera" has been so meaningful to me all my life, in school I always belonged to the folkloric dancing club and we always wore our costume. I could write a paragraph about every wise choice you made and what it has meant to me but I am afraid this will not post like the previous three attempts. So I will say MUCHAS MUCHAS GRACIAS, THANK YOU so much, yes I do believe in Angels, I got one near by. Orando Grandma

Raquel Nuñez and Miguel Miranda said...

Congratulations to the Boston Lady, it´s a great job. We just love it.
Raquel & Miguel
Panamá, Republic of Panamá