Monday, December 15, 2014

Grandma Catherine Passed Away 2014

Grandma Catherine passed away last week just shy of 95 years old. She was married for 66 years, and she had four children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. In the end, I knew her for 29 years, and I had more years with her than with my dad.

Shute - Curtis Wedding 1942
Wedding Day 1942

1957 05 11 Easter 665
1957- I don't have one with Maura or with Richard not hiding

I have lost a lot of important people in my life. That's in part the consequence of the blessing of having a lot of important people in my life in the first place. All that death has taught me to appreciate people while they're still here. My heart rests easy this time, because I visited Grandma Catherine frequently and always treated her with respect.

1985 04 14 Shute Wedding new 344
1985- Grandpa Jim, mom (28), dad (35- and exactly my age now), Grandma Catherine (65)

Grandma Catherine was my dad's mother, and I met her for the first time probably when I was six. I think at that time, she might have had some vague idea that I was Mexican. (I am not.) I spoke English, but my Spanish accent was thick, and my vocabulary was extremely limited. Suffice to say, it took a while to get to know each other. But she and Grandpa Jim still lived in Ridgewood, NJ back then, so occasionally she'd pick me up from school and bring me back to her place. I'd chase around Max their dachshund (fabled to eat rocks). And sometimes I'd sleep in Aunt Maura's old bedroom-- I remember I loved the wallpaper in that room because it seemed so girly. I still love wallpaper in general. 

Back then, Thanksgiving was new because my Cuban family never celebrated the holiday. So every Thanksgiving meant dad's family and Grandma Catherine's cooking. She'd meticulously plan each meal, and when she sat down at Thanksgiving dinner, she'd immediately start talking about what we'd have for breakfast the next morning (inevitably French toast). And we'd look forward to the next day's turkey sandwiches. I still have happy memories of the Thanksgiving that Uncle Richard and Uncle Nick (Bob) smooshed together all their sides mostly gross out my mom and delight me.

Thanksgiving 1986
Thanksgiving, it was always tough to get Grandma Catherine to sit

Since the whole family got together at Thanksgiving we did Christmas presents then too, and since there were so many people we did secret Santa. Uncle Kevin used to get me the best books even when he didn't draw our family. I still remember the illustrated children's Encyclopedia I pored over for years. (Who knows how much I owe to him and that one gift?)

1987 11 26 Thanksgiving 896
Christmas in November

Here's one of my favorite pictures of Grandma Catherine- she looks amazing and happy. It's Richard and Elaine's family engagement party (I think) and my mom took her to buy that outfit. You can tell she knows she looks good.

1988-1989 Richard and Elaine Engagement 246 (2)
 Richard and Elaine's Engagement Party, 1989

1990 07 04 Disney Fifth Grade802b
Grandma Catherine met us in Disney in 1990

After Grandma Catherine and Grandpa Jim moved from New Jersey to Cape Cod, and after Graham was was born, Thanksgivings moved to the Cape. She was overjoyed when her other three grandkids were born.

Graham is Born 1990
Graham born!

1993 11 Thanksgiving Cape Cod 878
Grandma C, Bob, me, and Graham, Thanksgiving 1993

1993 11 Thanksgiving Cape Cod 884
Mom and Rachel, Thanksgiving 1993

Grandma Catherine and Grandpa Jim were at my 8th grade, high school, and college graduations.

High School Graduation 1997
Day of my high school graduation 1997

GW Graduation 2001
After my college graduation 2001

After college, I started going to the Cape more regularly with my parents- once in the summer and once at Thanksgiving. She also met a couple of my boyfriends during this time and wasn't too impressed.

2000 05 Griffin 287
Grandma C reading to Griffin 2000

Thanksgiving 2003
Grandma C and Griffin, Thanksgiving 2003

Thanksgiving 2004
Thanksgiving 2004

Then Kevin and I started dating and he had family in the Cape too, so we started going even more frequently. Grandma Catherine instantly liked him when she met him. She had good taste. This is also around the time she started talking to me like an adult and I discovered she had - in Massachusetts parlance- a wicked sense of humor.

Christmas Week 2007
Visiting with Kevin during Christmas Week 2007

Bridal Shower 2009
Surprise Cape Cod family bridal shower 2009

Bridal Shower 2009
Our Irish grandmas- Ruth and Catherine 2009

Grandma Catherine had a blast at my wedding. There are pictures and video to prove it.

Clouther Wedding 2009- Shute Wedding
Shute family at cocktail hour- missing Maura but she's two pictures below

Dancing like crazy during the reception at 89 years old

Shute Family 2009
Almost the whole family- set up the timer 2009

My dad looked a lot like Catherine, and after he passed away I searched for him in her face. Unlike my dad, Grandma Catherine was able to meet both the kids. She met Miranda in June, and we saw her again a few weeks ago after Thanksgiving. There was really nothing else I could have asked for, except for Graham, Rachel, and Griffin to have her a little longer.

Cape Cod- May 2011
Feeding James at 2 months old 2011

Cape Cod- November 2011
Thanksgiving 2011

Visiting Grandma Catherine 2012
With Kevin and James in 2012

Cape Cod- June 2014
Meeting Miranda 2014

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