#41 : Gotta Love "GaDoris"

I was putting up the Christmas Decorations and found my wooden box that holds Christmas Cards... and I sat down a minute and ruffled through the box, knowing that this awesome tradition of Seasons Greetings was dying.   I knew that moment that I would be contributing to the demise of this tradition as I had skimmed the mailing of the cards from my cost(s) at Christmas.   Times are and have been changing.   But some people had not skimmed this tradition from their list but instead has GROWN their list(s) of who they would send to....... and I ruffled through the box and found this photo ^^^^ that Doris AKA "GaDoris" had enclosed in a card just a few years ago.  She has sent me a card in the mail every year for the past 25 at least, and that is being conservative.  Sometimes there was a photo in it, other times a gift card , a note but always enclosed was love.

They were celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary.... and the joke was . here she is quote on her facebook wall in October or November of 2015.

"58 years ago today, Tom and I were married. 
He just told me that if he had shot me, he would have been out of Jail 35 years ago."

This beautiful woman had been in my life since I was about 12 years old.  She had 6 children of her own but always had room for at least one or five more in her house and at her table.  Her home was quite different from the one I lived in just a mile or two down the road.  There was always laughter, sometimes fighting, most of the time: great food and always we / I felt welcome in her home.

Doris loved her children.  Doris loved all children.  She took up the slack for a lot of parents in the hood...that didn't know how to accept or love the children of their own.  She even hired a few of the teens to work for her at the Pretzel Shoppe at Cloverleaf Mall when it was the "hot spot" to hang out ... back in the day...

Doris loved me and Doris loved my children.  She never had any negative remarks for anyone that I heard  nor  did she offer any sharp criticism, but rather she would just laugh.  Laughing and smiling, is how I will always remember her.

I have special memories of her with all of my children and with me as a child and adult.  We both loved a lot of the same people, so we had that in common as well.  

When Doris didn't like someone ... (Rare Occasion) .... they knew that too,  as passionately as she loved ...she took issue with those that tried to cause chaos or stress for those that she did love.  She never quit.... she learned, she worked, she played and she taught with passion...until her time was done.

I so loved this lady....this lady who allowed me to "just be me."  This lady who gave unselfishly of her time , hugs and warmth almost my entire life.  This lady that taught those around her without even trying.  

I have a couple of profound memories of Doris but putting them here, in words, just this moment, don't begin to explain who she was to her family, friends and me.  The bottom line is that she was the mother that most should aspire to be.  She allowed her children to develop 6 unique and strong personalities that reflected the freedom they had throughout their lives to become.  AND ...There was always enough love to go around.

I was able to spend a few Thanksgivings with Doris and her family and a few Easters too.  I am so thankful for those summers that I stayed mainly over at her house on Ronaldton Road.  I always felt as if I were one of the "Wards" around GaDoris and "Uncle Tom aka Pop."  But I was just one of many that all felt that same way.

Doris lost two of her six children before she left this earth. Kenny (her middle child) and Steve her eldest.  Those two very sad occasions I was glad that I was "around" and able to hug her, look into her eyes and understand that profound loss that thankfully , not all of us share.      I am happy that I was able to take family photos for her before that happened.  Once in the formal studio of Olan Mills (all 8 of them) and once in Powhatan around a Tractor... "Kenny should have been in it"  but ... more faces were added to  the full family shoot as the family grew despite the sad losses. Photos meant a lot to her and were her memories....I am sure many people got one in a card those years they were taken.  She was so proud (and rightly so) of her beautiful family, her hilarious husband and the memories that they made for themselves and many others

DORIS AND THE BOYS  Photo: Anjie  Kay 2009

Doris and I had Lunch plans the following week.... the week following the last day she lived.  We were going to get together for her Birthday ... before I travelled to Jamaica on vacation.  This time it would be Mongolian Lunch.... my daughter, Kelly, had sparked her interest in the place and she wanted to go.   I had a phone conversation with her .... she ended the call with "I can't wait to see you, Anjie, love you..."  I smiled.... I knew she did...she always did... she always looked for a way to make me smile.. but AGAIN . Miss Skinny Mini.. it wasn't just me ... in life and even in death you are making people smile..  I miss you .


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WARD, Doris Brooks, 75, departed this world on November 12, 2015, to join her sons, Steve and Kenny, in heaven. She leaves behind her husband, Tom Ward; her children, Philip and Virginia Ward, Diane Elrod, Terry Elrod, Charlie and Maggi Ward, and Susie and Craig Brummer; her grandchildren, Jeff Duty, Jessica Polley, Jacob Ward, Carrie Rose Elrod and Mallory Hansen; her beloved great-grandchildren; and a multitude of much-loved nieces, nephews, friends, extended family members, and of course cats. Doris had a loving, generous spirit, and she leaves this world a much brighter, more beautiful place than she found it. She requested that no service be held; it was her wish that we all smile at how she touched our lives, not mourn because she's moved on. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Crossover Healthcare, 108 Cowardin Ave., 23234.