Monday, September 19, 2011

Not Running Related, but a True Example of Endurance

I'll have a post soon on my running and thoughts on UROC, but below is the text from a short paper I wrote ten years ago when I was an undergraduate and had to write a character description of someone influential in your life. I read this at my Grandma's funeral last week. I look up to very few people in this world, and she was at the top of the list. Without her influence I would not be the man I am today.

                My Grandma, Evelyn Crane, is one of the greatest people I have ever known. She immigrated to America from Italy in 1920. She was eight years old at the time, but even then she made her life count. She has constantly proved that if you remain strong you can survive. She learned to measure wealth not by how much you have, but by how happy you are. My grandma has suffered many hardships, but has done so with a lot of pride, integrity, and love.
                The first main characteristic of my grandma is her pride. She is an Italian-American and does nothing to hide it. She is very proud of her heritage and always has a story to tell of life in Italy, of growing up in and Italian-American community, and of the mafia (which are the best ones). She has one of the strongest wills of anyone I have ever known. She will set her mind on something and nothing will be able to stop her from doing it; most of the time she will be doing it to help others anyway. She truly is a survivor. When she came to America her father had run off, and her mother got sick on the boat and was put into the hospital. So she and her six-year-old brother had to support themselves. She went through the Great Depression and many other hard times, but she always made it through. Finally, she takes a lot of pride in her family. She married an Irishman, which was not acceptable for an Italian, but she loved him and had four kids with him. {All of whom she if very proud of}.
                Another characteristic of my grandma is her integrity. Though she did not always have much she never acted like it. If you did not know better you would think she was rich. But she worked very hard for what she earned. She did not believe in doing a “half a job.” In everything she did she went all out. She never would accept charity from anyone, but she would always give to anyone who needed. She would always give a smile; you would never get a frown from her.
                Thirdly, my grandma has always been a loving person. There is never a time when you can walk into my grandma’s house and not smell home cooked food. Whenever you came over you were given a meal fit for a king. This did not just apply to friends and family, my grandma would invite anyone into her house and offer them a meal. Every day, morning for her started at two A.M. with the daily laundry and moved on to baking fresh bread. Breakfast was served fresh when everyone else woke up. She did not always have a lot to give, but that never stopped her – she would give anyway. She would give food, money, a smile or a friendly comment. You never heard a negative comment come out of her mouth.
                One more thing about my grandma is that she is the greatest cook I know. She always made real Italian meals like spaghetti, lasagna, rejol, and perpette (a fried, Italian-style meatball). Then there are the baked goods: fresh hard rolls, Italian cookies, genettes and scaleti.
                My grandma is now 90 years old and still acts the same way. She still wakes up at two in the morning, still cooks, and is still serving others. She has taken her lot in life and used it to its fullest. She may only be 4’10,” but she has the heart of a giant. My grandma has been making impacts on peoples’ lives and has been an example to others for almost a century. I hope that if I live that long I will be able to look back and have accomplished at least half of what she has accomplished. 

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