Some of you may know that my real grandmother was in part an inspiration for the character Grandma Doris in my novel. You know all those funny things Grandma Doris says in the book?--well, my grandmother likely said something similar.
My real grandmother died last week at the age of 96 after a couple of years of declining health. Grandma grew up in segregated Texas and married my grandfather "the paperboy" as a teenager. In the late 1940s she moved to the Pacific Northwest and the couple soon divorced. Grandma went on to raise three children on her own working as a domestic helper and managed to buy her own house. We laid her to rest today with heavy hearts, but the knowledge that she is now at peace and maybe she will finally find her "rooster" in Heaven.
I will miss my grandmother. Many of you got a chance to see her when she was introduced on Portland's Morning Show, or at many of my book events in Portland over the last three years, including the Everybody Reads event. If you didn't meet her, learn a little about her from this little video I made about her life. In the video, she reveals the secret to living such a long life.
My Real Grandma 2011
Loving Day & My New York Times Op-Ed
Grandma passed away on Loving Day, the annual grassroots celebration of the Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage across the country. Grandma was the matriarch of a large rainbow tribe of grandchildren and great-grandchildren by birth and by marriage. I know what her answer would be to this question that the New York Times posed to me in honor of Loving Day: Are Interracial Marriages Still Scandalous? Grandma's answer (and mine): a resounding no. You can read my complete essay here. (My first New York Times essay!) You can also read a great piece about the roots of marriage equality on Hippo Reads, a wonderful resource to learn a lot about subjects in a little bit of time.
I hope you are all settling into some restful and lovely summer days. Now I head back to the page and continue work on the new novel. Wishing you a happy and peaceful summer and long good living like my Grandma Rose.