Monday, July 29, 2013

Granny’s Condition & Eulogy

Date:  Tue, 5 Apr 2005
From:  Patricia Leggett
To:  George Goodman

Subject: Update on Mother.

Mother is going downhill more and more.  She is forgetting many of the basic learned activities such as walking and feeding herself.  She falls at least once a week because she tries to get up out of the wheel chair and since she both has forgotten the process and is also too weak to stand, she slides to the floor.  She leans to the right to get up and thus falls on her right side.  She has not broken any bones yet but her right arm and shoulder are sore all the time.  She eats very slowly, little bites and it is hard to watch her picking up her food awkwardly and again, awkwardly putting it in her mouth.  The good news is she is willing to stay at the table until she has eaten all she wants to.  The bad news is the food has gone downhill and most of it does not interest her.  We take food to her a good bit and try to keep her snacks stocked up with a variety.

Mother still recognizes Bill without any problem.  She also recognizes me but she has trouble remembering that Pat Leggett used to be Pat Goodman.  She keeps looking for me as a child, not as an adult.  She dwells much of the time in the past.  She asked me Sunday if I had seen Granny Wilson lately.  I said no and left it at that but I don't even remember Granny Wilson.  She gets distraught sometimes and we have put her on Ativan (Spelling??) to calm her down.  This is an occasional dosage, not an everyday thing.

Frankly, I think life in a nursing home for someone with Alzheimer’s is boring.  She cannot be trusted to go outside on her own, she does not like watching TV so she does not go to the TV room often.  The TV room does offer the ability to watch a variety of brightly colored birds in the aviary or sit with others.  She spends limited time there.  She has lost interest in playing bingo very often or joining the others in the sing-a-longs.  She does not read much any more.  She does love the stuffed animals we brought her and sleeps with them.  My sister-in-law, Sandy, has made her a pretty pillow for the bedroom and has also made a lightweight quilt.  She loves getting pretty things for her room.  I fixed up a picture bulletin board and she enjoys the pictures.  Several of the ladies she has bonded with have passed away.  She does not appear to be bonding with anyone else.  We took her outside when it was nice several weeks ago.  Someone was there visiting another lady and had two puppies.  She loved watching them play.

Keep her in your prayers.  To me, she is not really living and it breaks my heart.


Letitia Emma Jones-Goodman - This Is Your Life
(Granny’s eulogy written by Dad & edited by Richard)

Letitia was born in Ohio in 1915. She was the first born to Arthur E. Jones and Elenorah Wilson - Jones. Letitia also had a younger brother Daniel T Jones and a sister Dorothy Jones- Fitzsimmons.  Her father, Arthur, was a partner in a paint store, which later succumbed to the ravages of the Great Depression. As a result, the family was moved to the family farm on the outskirts of the greater Youngstown area. While there, Letitia attended a hairdresser school until she was forced to withdraw after suffering an illness, which took part of the vision from her right eye.  In 1936, Letitia met and later married George Eli Goodman, a farmer from nearby Green Township. Although she was not physically strong, Letitia pitched in to help grow and sell fruit and produce from the farm. During the depression everyone had to do whatever they could to help the family survive. 

The family grew larger when George E. and Letitia added George H to the family in 1937.  Patricia Anne followed in 1941.  During this same period, George and Letitia moved again, along with the elder Goodman’s, to a 52-acre fruit farm on Ellsworth Avenue at the Eastern outskirts of Salem Ohio. This was to be their home for the next several years.  During the war farmers were granted an exemption to the draft but were expected to grow as much food as possible to support the 13 million men and women in the armed services so Letitia supervised the vegetable garden and the canning while George E maintained the fruit farm in addition to other rented orchards.

Letitia became actively involved in the Salem Assembly of God church. She was a teacher for the children in Sunday Bible School and she also participated in many revival meetings. Her commitment was recognized by the church when she was granted the title of Exhorter. This title was recognition of the mid point between a layperson and one who is ordained. She maintained her interest in and allegiance to the Assembly of God the rest of her life.  When the war ended in 1945 her brother Daniel returned safely from the European theater of war and her sister Dorothy’s husband Cecil was discharged from the Navy. Due to the post war job boom, hired help for the farm was unaffordable so the children had to fill the gap as best they could. George H. drove the tractor while George E. sprayed the apples, peaches and other fruit. In addition there were plenty other farm chores to take care of, such as hoeing weeds. Patricia helped her mother and father at whatever chores she was strong enough to handle.

In 1946, the turbulence in her life continued when her mother-in-law died in April and her father-in-law died in November. Her husband was the only child and inherited the farm during a time of declining values.  In 1947 her father and mother sold their farm and moved to De-Soto City Florida, settling on the shores of Red Beach Lake. Her father tried his hand at growing Lychee fruit and also subdivided several acres into building lots. This helped stretch the Social Security check.  By 1950 the Goodman family farm had been sold and the family moved again, this time to Georgetown Road on the western edge of Salem. At the new home, George E. supported the family by buying fruit from the growers and selling it to retail customers.  The cold Ohio winters caused Letitia and her husband to start thinking of joining the Jones’ family in Florida. In 1952 the family spent several winter months living with her parents in Florida. George and Pat rode the school bus to Sebring, as De-Soto City was too small to have a school system. George E. supported the family working as a grounds keeper for Kenilworth Lodge. The Florida climate agreed with the family but the question of earning a living was troublesome. When they returned to Ohio, they decided to explore other Florida locations that could suit their needs.

In 1954 the family sold their house and moved to Winter Haven. Her husband purchased a fruit stand to support the family. He later sold that and tried his hand at running a Greyhound bus terminal and Western Union franchise in Auburndale.  1960 was another turbulent year for Letitia.  George graduated from Florida Southern College and entered the Army as a Second Lieutenant.  At the same time Pat was marrying Glenn, Letitia and her husband parted ways. Letitia supported herself working as a clerk in a jewelry store before securing a job as a bank teller. This career choice was to her liking and she remained in banking until she retired in 1977.  Letitia had always expressed a desire to travel. In 1972, when offered the opportunity to visit her son, daughter-in law and grandchildren in Germany she jumped at the chance. She visited Germany, Austria, France and Luxembourg before returning home. We didn’t know it, but she was just getting started. She later was invited to teach Bible School in Scotland and spent the summer with a Scottish family while she taught Bible studies to the children. Her travels also included a two-week trip to the Holy Land with her church.

These are some of my remembrances of my mother and her life.  I invite you to share any thoughts and experiences of your own or to reflect privately on your memories of Letitia.


Richard’s Comments for The Funeral Eulogy:

When I heard the sad news about my grandmother, I found comfort by thinking about the times we had shared over the years.  As a child, our family would visit her in Florida and I looked forward to those visits.  It meant fresh-picked oranges from the orange tree in her backyard and maybe a trip to Disney World.  She liked to play with me and my sister, sometimes pretending to be a monster chasing after us.  She would pop out her dentures and enjoy watching us scream, almost as much as we enjoyed screaming and playing with Granny.  She tried her hand at crafts projects also and we were the recipients of some of those efforts.  I still have the floor rug that she latchhooked for me- a rug with a German shepherd dog on it, the same type as my dog Perky. 

A couple years ago, she was visiting us in Virginia for the last time and after waking up from a nap, she wrapped me up in a big hug and asked if she could pray over me.  She said a long prayer and held me tight the whole time, finally releasing me when we got called for dinner.  Then just this week, when hearing the news about Granny from my dad, I found out something else that the two of us had in common.  It turns out we both love frosting, so much so that we would eat it right out of the container, not even needing a cake to put it on.  That’s an experience I’ll never get to share with her now.

In the end though, whenever I think of Granny, one memory always comes to mind.  When I was a young boy, she came to visit us in Fort Lee, Virginia and the two of us spent an afternoon at a nearby creek picking out large stones.  She wanted to take them back to Florida so she could line her walkway with them.  Since that day, whenever I saw her again she would mention that afternoon.  I think we both appreciated the memory of a day when the only thing that mattered was a grandmother and grandson finding the perfect stones so that something in the world could be made more beautiful.  That is how I’ll always remember her- among her family, looking forward to a more beautiful world. 


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