Eulogy for Frances Sue Berkshire

My grand­ma died last Sunday night. Her obit­u­ary can be found here. I no longer have any grand­par­ents. Grandma Berkshire was a strong woman. She grew up in the Great Depression, but she liked to point out that she grew up on a farm, so while they were poor, they had plen­ty to eat. She was born in Kokomo, IN, but grew up in Flora, a place I’ve nev­er been, but one I’ve passed by a few times on my way to West Lafayette. She lived for years just down the road in Logansport, IN, where she raised 4 chil­dren, in­clud­ing my mom. I’ve writ­ten about her once be­fore, so this post is like­ly to have some re­peats.

She loved dirty jokes and beat­ing the tar out of any­one she played at Scrabble. I on­ly ever beat her once. She was a great part­ner at bid eu­chre, and a great grand­moth­er al­to­geth­er. When she lived in Connersville, I used to ride the bus to their house af­ter school and watch the af­ter­noon Disney car­toons in the kitchen. I’d sneak E.L. Fudge cook­ies from the cook­ie jar. At least I thought I did, Grandma was on to me, but pre­tend­ed not to hear. It was rough at the wake. There were dis­plays of Grandma through­out life, the book of her life with Grandpa which they re­ceived at their 50th wed­ding an­niver­sary; and a book of her po­ems. She wrote po­ems for the fam­i­ly for the big events in our lives; I re­ceived one for my high school grad­u­a­tion. When I came to that page, I fi­nal­ly let my­self cry. Grandma had so much love for all of us. 

She al­ways asked Grandpa to fix her half a drink, and when she’d feed me, she’d al­ways try to get me to eat more, in­sist­ing “there’s on­ly a dab left.” She saved every­thing. The bags bread came in, the wire twists that kept them shut, in­fi­nite plas­tic con­tain­ers, po­lit­i­cal para­pher­na­lia from years gone, every­thing. And I was ter­ri­fied of com­ing any­where near The Lamp.

In typ­i­cal Grandma fash­ion, she planned her fu­ner­al ahead of time, down to the last de­tails. Readings, songs, who she want­ed to do what, even the type of flower she want­ed, ivory ros­es, were laid out for us. My mom and Camy read the eu­lo­gy, and did a great job. They end­ed with a po­em that Grandma had writ­ten for her own fu­ner­al, which tore the flood­gates open anew. After the fu­ner­al Mass, we learned that my cousin Chris, who was singing along with my cousin Jess, said “Shit, I have to sing now?” right af­ter the eu­lo­gy, and in­to the mi­cro­phone. He was wor­ried that every­one heard it. I don’t think any­one did, but if Grandma had, she’d’ve been, in her words, “tick­led.”

There is no way to say enough about her, but it is eas­i­er to point out the ex­cel­lent fam­i­ly that sur­rounds me as a tes­ta­ment to her love and abil­i­ties. I miss you, Grandma.

2 thoughts on “Eulogy for Frances Sue Berkshire

  1. If I re­mem­ber cor­rect­ly I met your Grandma once.  She was a great la­dy.  May her soul rest in peace.

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