In a few weeks, I’m going to get in my car and drive for three hours to the best place I’ve ever known, and one of the big reasons I’m going there is to sit on a new bench.
In our own Star’s Hollow, known as Edinboro, there are benches available as memorial tributes. Ours will read: “Barney and Arla Gwynn. Home at the lake forever.”
The bench will reside beside a childrens’ playground that is just across the street from her house, where she spent countless hours watching the little rascals swing and slide and scream. The tribute will now provide parents a place to take a load off while they’re watching their little rascals swing and slide and scream. It’s perfect.
What I’m learning following her death is that when somebody as vital to you as she was to me dies, you start learning more about them. I had never truly considered, for example, that when I, her only grandson, was born, she was 44 years old. And that when her husband died, she was 62. Which means she lived in the widows’ weeds for 30 years. Nearly a third of her life.
I think of this not to be maudlin, but because it leads me to understand her better. During her life, I could never understand why she insisted on traveling to Florida every year, or why she stayed in Edinboro, or why she never got rid of anything. It was because she was still leading the life that she and her husband led. I think my Grandma was forever motivated by the life she led with her Barney. I think she did many things because that’s what they used to do.
My Grandma G was born April 25, 1924, and she stopped refusing to die on May 26, 2016, at 92.
I have been spending ever since trying to write about her here. She was probably my most loyal reader, after all, and she would be upset not to find her passing noted in this space.
I first started writing about it by scouring the obit. It was all I could do. I hadn’t lived it long enough yet. And so for months, I’ve been working on one long piece here about Arla May Gwynn.
But I’ll never get that finished. Because, honestly, and I am somewhat surprised by this, but honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever finish mourning her. So. Stories will come. I will need to write them down.
Arla G isn’t just one entry. She’s a category.
One that will probably be heavily used next week. Thank you for listening.