Many of us knew Erma. We just received news that she passed away just after the turning of the New Year. She was back in her beloved Woodland and her son David was right by her side. We knew it wouldn’t be long. She had a long life and we’re happy she shared some of it with us.
Erma was the first person to live in the corner room of the remodeled Annex (Tam One). She loved being out on the deck outside her room where she would putter about watering plants, tending the birdfeeder she bought or sit for hours sharing stories with other residents and guests. And she could sit in silence just as well. Then, when David, Kira and her two little granddaughters would arrive, she would light up with delight. Her weekly trip down to the hairdresser gave her endless pleasure. Ever the conversationalist, she loved any attention. If you could spare a minute, she’d serve up an hour of stories–small tidbits of wisdom and wit. It could have been her years as a nutritionist.
Erma had some opinions (understatement!). She knew she was set in her ways and (a bit) hardheaded. Not afraid to speak her mind, she obviously ruffled some feathers. But her sense of humor and contagious giggle (or loud “HA!”) would lighten even the most cantankerous disposition. Her glance or eye rolls could knock you over! Could we say she was stubborn? When the Manager (“Mr. Chris” she would tell her grandkids) asked her to wear her hearing aids, especially at dinner time, she would “forget,” leave them in her pocket or conveniently forget to flip the ON switch. “I’m 93!,” she would announce, “I’ve HEARD everything!” Sometimes when sitting quietly with her, the Manager would ask her how she was feeling. “Well, sometimes I laugh when I feel like crying.”
Her playfulness may have rubbed some people the wrong way, but she meant well. She loved complaining about meals. . .especially the fact that there wasn’t a big slab of beef on her plate everyday. Erma loved meat and often turned up her nose at vegetables. She took some folks under her wing and was always concerned about them. A few others stirred her to distraction and she had to be calmed to keep her bloodpressure down and her attitude up. We called her The Queen and she got a kick out of that. Sometimes she would just point or shake her cane, but her gesture was inevitably followed by a big sly smile and usually a giggle. She was such a serious woman. And yet, she couldn’t take Life too seriously either!
Our Erma. . .quite a lady. She loved her family deeply and she enjoyed so much of her life at Tam House. She clearly touched a number of our lives and she will not be forgotten.
Even if you didn’t know her, there is some of Erma’s spritely spirit still around Tam House.
Maybe you can sense a little of that in these images.
Good bye, Erma. You are missed!