This is a picture of my mother-in-law. Her name is Edwadene but we all call her Ed. When I first met Ed she was married to Donny's daddy, Strick. He had emphysema and was disabled. Edwadene worked in the sample carpet mills. She and Strick worked for the telephone company when they first met. Ed was an operator and Strick worked on the lines.
Edwadene loved flea markets and had a station wagon piled high with goods she would carry to sell every week.
Edwadene was a wonderful cook. She is the only person I ever knew who cooked almost like my grandmother, and I always thought my grandmother was the best cook in the world. Edwadene had one advantage over my grandmother. She knew how to make the best yeast rolls I've ever eaten. They were delicious.
After Donny's daddy died of a heart attack, Edwadene was a widow for a long time. A lady she worked with tried to set Edwadene up with her father-in-law who was a widower. Edwadene didn't know how to act at first. She was flattered but thought Charlie was too old for her. She said he was an old man. I guess, because he was grey headed. That was funny because Edwadene was grey, too.
Before long Edwadene and Charlie got married and combined their families. They worked very hard to try to include everyone and make us all one big family. Charlie insisted we all go camping and fishing at Harrison Bay. We made that a family tradition for several years. Everybody had a good time the first year. There were tents and campers set up everywhere.
Charlie's daughter, Teresa, was married to Jackie Amos. They had a little tent that was set up near the campfire. In the morning everyone was standing around the fire discussing what they wanted to do that day ... fishing ... when the little tent started shaking violently. Jackie and Teresa were 'getting it on' with everyone standing around the campfire. Nobody could mistake what the shaking was all about. After a little bit, the tent quit shaking, and Jackie and Teresa crawled outside. Oh, well. That was entertaining.
Over the years, the Strickland family kept going fishing with Charlie and Edwadene. Charlie's family would come to Harrison Bay, too, but didn't always camp with us. Charlie's daughter, Deborah, and her husband, Billy, usually camped near Billy's family who loved to go to Harrison Bay every summer at the same time. They loved fishing when the catfish ran.
Myra, and Donny, and Tony always came camping every summer. One summer Tony got sick and had a heart attack. After that he wasn't interested in camping any more. After Charlie died, Donny took our family camping but it wasn't as fun as it had been with the Strickland and the McAllister clans camping together.
Edwadene sold her house and bought a condominium after Charlie passed away. Her mother, Granny Smith, lived with her for a while but she had to be put in a nursing home because of dementia. Not long after Granny Smith died, Edwadene started losing her memory and her eye sight.
Edwadene lived with her son, Tony, for a while and she stayed with us sometimes. I think it was good for her to be here because she got to know me better. One time she said she thought I was mean to the boys and didn't love them but, after staying with us for a while, she realized I didn't feel that way.
I talk rough to the boys and chew them out when they make mistakes but I also always tell them how much I love them and how much they mean to me. I don't know any other way to be. I am not a good mother. I do yell at them and say mean things sometimes but, for some reason, my boys are fine young men and anybody who knows them will tell you that.
Edwadene lived in an assisted living home until her memory deteriorated so much she had to be moved into a nursing home. I would go by to see her sometimes and she would be slumped over in her chair asleep, or in bed asleep. She couldn't communicate with anyone any more and she lived in a fog in her own mind.
Alzheimer's is a terrible disease that robs you of your identity and dignity. Edwadene suffered from it for over thirteen years. Looking back, I suspect she had it for years before that. She used to say she couldn't think straight. I thought she was just being insecure but now I think she had been having symptoms of Alzheimer's a lot longer than she was diagnosed.
Edwadene passed away last Sunday. She was 83. Her family and loved ones came together to honor and pay respect to the woman she was. She was a loving mother and wife. She cared about her family and friends and never had an unkind word to say about anyone. She was a good woman.
I am sorry she passed away and I know it is painful for her family to say goodbye but I am also happy that she isn't suffering anymore. She no longer has to live in a dark fog of blindness and dementia. It is so painful seeing someone you love in that condition.
Edwadene was always nice to me and I grew to really love her over the years. I admired Edwadene for her honesty and goodness and cheerful spirit. She will be deeply missed.