A Not So Good Surprise And Wanting To Shank Those Who Share Your DNA

I had the rug-pulled out and the wind taken out of my sails recently, thanks to my first cousins. It’s a very long, complicated story, but they sold my Grandparent’s home without letting me know. They were rightfully the owners because their father, my Uncle, was the last owner of the home as Grandma passed away in 2009. But in my brain, in my heart, it was always our Grandparent’s home. Always. 

Crazy enough, Linds was the one to break the news to me as she is close to, and works with my oldest cousin’s daughter. (the daughter, who I adore, was appalled at her father not contacting me as well)

For them, (my first cousins) this was about money. For me, it was all emotion. 

Suz and G’ma, Suz, Gma, Linds and Lolo

My childhood wasn’t stellar, but when I look back, the time I spent at my Grandparent’s home was always joyous. I had meals prepared for me, was doted upon, and was loved unconditionally. It was my safe haven. 

Grandma’s house is the one place that I visited/stayed at that had no bad memories or reminders of shit-gone-bad.

My dad (he passed in 1993), Suz, Uncle Alan (who passed in 2018) It was a windy Easter morning.

Grandma’s house is near the Miami airport in a lovely little neighborhood; My Uncles’ Widow, Joanie was living there, which was how it was supposed to be. They’d only been married for five years and she was sweet; she would have loved for me to visit again, but I just didn’t. I kept in touch with her by phone and snail mail. (unlike my cousins) I sent her flowers on her birthday and little gifts at Christmas; she knew that I cared about her. She was a bonafide wackadoodle, albeit harmless, but my Uncle loved her, so I checked in on her. 

Grandmas house stood still in time, aside from the updated Kitchen Coach gifted to her around 2001. My grandma’s tchotchkes were still displayed in the same spots. The little terrarium I made for her in elementary school was still sitting in the niche behind the refrigerator wall.

I know. Things are just things. But still sometimes you want to put your hands on sentimental things.

Recently, Joanie had a myriad of physical and mental health issues and went into assisted living. I would have loved to visit the house again and perhaps keep a few of my Grandmother’s things that were forever residing in that 1942 house.

The news hit me harder than I’d expected; I think because it was sudden and of course because my feelings were not accounted for. The Coach assured me that they’re only concerned with money, which I know. Linds was so sweet and offered to go with me to the house and see if anything was still there. (Turns out Joanies nephew was purchasing the house)

The morning I found out, I spouted some cuss words and shed a few hundred tears, but within a few hours, I was ok with it all and had moved onto other matters. I think that’s called personal growth, right?

Anyhoo, I just needed to document this here for later when my cousins ask me for something.

I’m kidding but wouldn’t it be fun if they needed something from me later on?

Thanks for listening. XOXO

There’s A Fine Line Between Family History Research And A Never-ending Rabbit Hole. Also, Bittersweet Memories

I’ve once again fallen down the rabbit hole that is Ancestry.Com. I can place the blame on an almost complete stranger even though we share DNA.

I was recently contacted by a long lost family member; I think we’re 3rd cousins 29 times removed. Or something like that. Anyhoo, He and I were messaging and emailing back and forth; and this caused me to do some updating of my family tree since I was given more information. I was also able to give him a lot of photos that I inherited from my Paternal Grandma. Which then led me to reminisce about my Grandma. *sigh*

She was my favorite and she was the bright spot of my somewhat weird and dysfunctional childhood. Grandma had several brothers, two sons herself, three grandsons and me, I was the only girl she nurtured. I always felt loved by her and can only recall one time that she raised her voice at me. (I was about 7 and merely trying to walk across the pool in my church clothes because I thought if Jesus could walk on water, why not me?)

I posted the following shortly after she left us, but didn’t allow for comments because I was in a raw place at the moment.

It was a bright and sunny day outside, but inside this cold and dreary place you could only catch a glimpse of the sun through the stained and dirty window. 

Grandma was in and out of sleep. We sat or stood around her bed, having mindless conversations. 

I wondered if she was hearing our words, or if she was off somewhere better. 

I hoped she was revisiting some of her better days; the joyful times when she and Grandpa traveled, piddling at her favorite stores, playing cards with the neighbors, bowling, laughing

I was now standing next to her, she opened her blue eyes and said to me, clear as a bell: “Suzanne, you know, you are the light of my life.”

I smiled, a few tears spilling from my eyes. 

I knew this already, but it was so touching to hear the words. Grandma never minced her words, good or bad. 

I looked around the room; My Uncle was staring at the muted TV and even with his hearing aid he missed this comment. The Coach was sitting nearby, but I’m not sure he heard her either.

Gosh, I adore that woman, she knew to say this after my cousin Will left the room. 

For someone who rarely filtered her words from her thoughts, this was the first and possibly last time, that she thought before she spoke. 

Linds, Suz, G’ma and Lolo
Suz and Grandma at her surprise 90th birthday party; she didn’t act surprised at all.


I’m so thankful that I had her in my life for so long, but I still miss her dearly.

Some of the old posts that I shared about her might make one think that she didn’t love me as much as I thought she did; I mean, she fed me cigarettes for breakfast and almost let me drown trying to teach me to NOT swim underwater. Maybe I could walk on water after all


Always remember the Lilies {or not}

This post was originally shared in 2011, but it’s fitting for the Easter season and it’s fitting to remember what a character my Grandma was. 

Does any flower scream Easter like the Lily?
Well, for me, there is none other.

As a child, going to church with Grandma I vividly remember the Easter lilies all lined up near the pulpit.

I remember reading through the church bulletin during the Easter service about WHO the lilies were for as they were all purchased in memoriam for someone.

I remember seeing that Grandma purchased one for my Grandpa after he died.
I would look towards the pulpit…wondering which one was ‘his’.

Years later, I would read that there was a lily placed in my Brother’s name.

And two Easters later, my Dad was added to the Easter Lilly collection.

Sadly, our family was filling up the lily section.

Cut to a few years ago when Grandma was still alive and in her mid 90’s; she could no longer get to church for any services.

So Easter morning, the coach and I with the girls loaded up our car and made the hour & forty-minute trek to Grandma’s house in Miami to celebrate Easter.

I had the biggest, whitest lily in the back of the car for Grandma.

When we arrived, she was happy to see us all. She was always happy to see us.

When I handed her the big ole’ white lily…she looked at it, she then looked at me.

I said: Isn’t it beautiful?

Grandma: Lilies always remind me of funerals. And they stink. I don’t care for them. 

Good lord; I should have known.
 great grandma[5]

That woman could not filter her thoughts whatsoever.
So now, whenever I see a lily…I remember HER.

And then my thoughts roam to stinky funerals; then back to her and her unfiltered funny as heck self.

Do you remember when she called me a PERVERT?  Gosh, what are the chances of anyone ever calling me that again?

Wishing everyone a nice Easter wherever you are and with whoever you’re with.


Gravel Gertie and other lies

The other night while cooking dinner, (the chores!) the TV was tuned to the USA channel and Chrisley Knows Best was on; from out of nowhere I heard Todd say to one of his kids:
“C’mon Gravel Gertie.”
I stopped what I was doing and said to the dogs who were watching my every move:

WHAT the Franklin D. Roosevelt did he SAY?

This was a phrase my Grandma used to say to me often as a kid and I remember asking her What is a Gravel Gertie?
She explained to me that Gertie was a lady she used to see when she was a kid; Gravel Gertie was homeless and was always a mess, having spent her life in the gravel on the side of the road.
I assumed the ladies’ name was Gertie and that there was only ONE Gravel Gertie. 
Was I related to the Chrisleys? Do they know my Grandma too?

After researching, it turns out, she was a character in a Dick Tracey story.
Todd Chrisley blew my childhood memories away because I thought {for 52 years} that Gertie was someone my G’ma knew personally.

{I know the Chrisley show is dumb  & contrived, but that’s what’s need when slaving in the kitchen}

Now, I’m wondering what other lies my Grandma told me that I’ve been believing for all my days.
I mean, she proudly fed me cigarettes for breakfast. 
Will my face stay like that? 
Will I blow bubbles out of my butt from swallowing gum? 
Is that mole on the back of my neck really my sweet spot? 

Surely, she wasn’t lying when she told me I was her favorite, I mean, that’s pretty easy to believe.

Me and my lying Grandma at her 90th birthday party. 

Well, shucks. I do miss her terribly; she was always so happy to see me. And she was my favorite. She lived until the ripe old age of 96 being healthy until the last few months of her life. Her birthday is this week; March 4th and she would be 107; which would really piss her off. She used to tell me that people should NOT live ‘this long’ and it’s terrible when everyone you know is dead.
Also, she had no filter.

Has anyone else heard of Gravel Gertie?