Today my Grandmother, Mary Alice Fike Pigg, would have been 100 years old. She was blessed to have lived to be 95 and so acknowledging her 100 birthday does not seem that absurd to me.
My Grandmother had the most profound influence on my life. I had 43 years of her presence in my life and much of who I am today can be attributed to the many hours she and I spent together.
She collected pigs because she was proud of her married name. She had thousands of pigs in various shapes, sizes, color, style and type. Pig banks, spoons, cups, coins, bowls, diapers, bibs, and even toilet paper! Every time she received a baby announcement she gave a pig of some sort.
Grandmother was a collector. Walking through her house was one never ending adventure and she could tell you the story of each treasure. She collected little silver spoons because she had the collection of her mothers. Each place she went was commemorated with a little spoon.
Antique irons of her mother's. Antique fountain pens of her father's. The delicate silk hankies of her mother's. She gave me the 48 star flag of her Uncle John and I even have the wooden hand that he crafted for himself after he lost his hand in an accident in the 1920's.
Most of all, she collected people. She never met a stranger and she instantly made you a friend. She struck up conversations with anyone she met and because of her years in Tempe she most often found that she knew someone in their family. She could recognize people she taught 40 years prior and would shock people with that recognition.
She loved stories and everyone had a story. YOU became a part of HER story in some small way. She wove a tapestry with people, experiences, and things. She loved telling her stories and she loved telling the stories of Arizona. She could remember EVERYTHING. Her memory astounded everyone. I loved listening to her stories.
Her kindness and loved stretched to everyone. She lived a life trying to make everyone else feel better. She taught 36 plus years and being her student was a pleasure. She made you feel special just as she made my cousins and I feel special. We would all find ways to pretend to be sick so we could spend the day with our Grandma.
I miss my Grandma. I miss her smiling face and her wisdom. I miss her energy and her faith. I miss her example and influence in my life. I hope someday that I can be the strong woman that she was.
But...I know families are forever and I KNOW I will see my beloved Grandmother again someday. I can't wait for that day.