Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Sunday Trip and Nanny's Funeral

Saturday we left Wynne about 8:45 and got to Tuscumbia around 12:30, which was very good time. I thought it was further, but then Florence and the other "Quad Cities" are. Tuscumbia is the first, traveling east. Paul and I ate a quick lunch at McD's and Sher caught up with us about the time we finished. She knew there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house in Florence, about five miles from where we were, so we had time to at least see the outside of it. His architectural style is unique and I couldn't believe I spotted it before Sher did. We walked around some of the grounds and she decided to stay for as much of the tour as she could. Since Nanny's funeral was at 2:00, Paul and I left and got to the church in time to visit with Mike, Marsha, Benjamin, Morgan, Darlene and Alan, the immediate family we know. Sher did get there in plenty of time to visit, too, and she, Paul and I sat together. At one point we just looked at each other through our tears and knew - everything they were feeling just a little over a year ago and going through this yet again. Mike was so good to Nanny, too. And Morgan and Benjamin have lost both grandmothers in a little over a year.

Offie Alma Willingham "Nanny" was 93 the day before she died on September 18, and passed away at Helen Keller Hospital in Tuscumbia. Her grandson Bubba Cole is the pastor of the church and conducted part of the service, which was very difficult for him at times. But he remembered Nanny's sense of humor and had the congregation, many of whom were his relatives, laughing at her antics. A trio sang "Amazing Grace" and another hymn. (Greg Woodruff had sung "Amazing Grace" at Mama's service, so this brought more tears from me and Sher.) Nanny did look sweet in a light blue suit. The family casket flowers was an abundant array of pale pink roses. Her and her husband's (Papaw) former pastor did part of the service, too. Nanny had been widowed several years, and Papaw was just as sweet as she was.

I know it was difficult for all the family - it's never easy to give up a loved one. Nanny was like Marsha and Darlene's mother, though she was their grandmother. I really understand how she feels. Marsha and the family took such good care of Nanny as we did Mama, and it's a comfort that they are together in Heaven now.

It was good being with family though the circumstances were sad. Just one more way to make me miss being with them and seeing them more often! I'm so glad we went. I think they needed us and we needed to be there.

We drove home with only two short stops and one fairly long one at Wal-Mart's gas pumps where gas was $3.34 a gallon. All they had was regular, Paul said, but there was no limit to the amount you could buy. Sher stopped there later and it took her a little longer, what with other customers' debit/credit card dysfunction and then she realized it was only regular gas and she has to use premium, but she got a half a tank when she finally go to the pump.

We got home around 7:00. I'm glad Paul drove - I don't think I could drive that far in one day! My head was ready to find its pillow pretty soon after we got home. Oscar was glad to see us, too. He was fine, though - I'd let Jean know we'd be gone and she knew what to do in case she had to let him out.

We lived in Sheffield, one of the Quad Cities (Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, Florence) for - I started to say several years, but not really that long. The first time we were there, Mike was born, then we moved to the country when he was around 3. Now I can't call Mama and ask her. But Steve was born in the country, literally - at home, and there is a three-year difference in their ages... We probably had not lived in Cloverdale but a couple of years before Steve came along. Anyway, I went to school in Sheffield twice. Actually we lived in Sheffield three times, but... oh, well... we moved a lot. But the Terrace Apartments is where we lived and I didn't know for a long time that the new school they built was as near the river as it is until we went "exploring" beyond the school. (I never attended that school, and the one I walked to is long gone now.) I don't know how high up on the bluff we were, but the pictures below are on the Sheffield (south) side of the Tennessee River. (The bluff is 50-100 feet high in various places and is coral limestone.) Florence is on the north side of the river and Wilson Dam is not too far away. North Alabama and North Mississippi are really beautiful places - lots of lakes and hills. We did not live in any of these houses - Mama's doctor who delivered Mike did own a home on the bluff. How a child's world widens as they get older! Perspective broadens and you realize where your "place" was in that big world out there that you didn't even know about. (I made this picture from the car as we crossed the O'Neal Bridge.)
Frank Lloyd Wright/Rosenbaum Home. Sher stayed in the tour long enough to find out: It was built in 1939, constructed of cypress, glass and brick. The house was built for newlyweds Stanley and Mildred Rosenbaum, and is the only FLW-designed structure in Alabama. In 1948, Wright designed an addition to the home, adding two wings. Originally the wooded lot was open all the way to the river for a spectacular view. Sher said that the interior uses a lot of wood and built-in cabinetry and just warmly "wraps" itself around you. This was on a pretty shaded street lined with older homes in various styles, with overarching trees. The City of Florence bought this property in 1999 and spent around $750,000 on restoration. The Rosenbaums were the only family to live there until the city purchased it. (A really neat site to see more and the interior: Another example of how your world widens - we had no idea this house existed or who Frank Lloyd Wright was in 1958! Top photo is the front; bottom is the back of the house. The south bluff would be visible from the "back yard" of this property.

No comments: