R.I.P. Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Puckett, A.K.A. MIMI

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R.I.P. Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Puckett, A.K.A. MIMI

R.I.P. Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Puckett, A.K.A. MIMI

95% of my blogs are dedicated to sharing info with my students that we don’t have time to cover in class.

It’s not the wisest content strategy, but it’s the most rewarding, so I’m sticking with it. However, I’m taking a minute to use my blog to commemorate a lost family member whom predates the internet, and I wanted there to be more than one page online honored to her memory.

When I found out my Mimi – Mary Elizabeth Kendrick Puckett – died, I was sort of shocked. I hadn’t seen her much before she died, and I instantly felt guilty.

To be honest, if it’s not work, school, church or my wife and kids, I don’t do much socializing because I don’t really have (make) the time for it. I can’t help but laugh when people tell me they’re busy. *Laughing a little as I’m typing* But that’s no excuse for not seeing your family.

One of my biggest weaknesses is relationships with my family, and I’m not sure why. I try and be intentional about calling and visiting my mom and my grandpa, but that’s pretty much where it ends, unfortunately.

I didn’t make a big fuss about her death because it’s not really in me to do that, however, it seems inappropriate to not honor her somehow using my talent. Maybe it was a way of compensating for my own guilt, but I wanted to create some sort of art in her memory to print out and give to my Dad as well as to put online to mark a moment in time for her as I remember her. So here goes.

Sunrise: January 13, 1942

My Mimi was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma to Howard Neal Puckett and Mary Evelyn Puckett.

I met her for the first time when I was probably 7 or 8. She was my Grandmother on my Dad’s side. (Although I don’t ever refer to him as my Step-Dad because he’s the only Dad I’ve ever had, he and my mother didn’t get together until I was 7.)

I don’t remember the first time I met my Mimi, but I have many fond memories of her. She was the type of grandmother that novels are written about. She was kind, caring, and she could cook so well she’d make Betty Crocker blush. Everything she made had love in it, and probably some fresh herbs. Mimi loved her fresh herbs.

She loved nature more than anything. From plants to birds, rocks to crystals, she just loved the outside. Turquoise was one of her favorite stones.

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My Mimi was also the type of woman that had been hardened by life in some ways, and she was never afraid to speak her mind even if it meant cutting someone a bit. She didn’t do it to be spiteful or rude, but she’d earned the right to speak her mind boldly sort of like Maxine from the Crabby Road comic strip, whom she loved.

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Christmas, Birthdays, even something more obscure like St. Patricks Day, Mimi always had gifts for us and something sweet. They were rarely, if ever, the type of gifts that you had to pretend to appreciate. The occasional pack of socks or underwear, but she was just being a grandma.

Mimi was an expert at giving gifts she knew we’d love. (Gifts are my love language, hence why even as a little kid this sticks out to me. Hah!)

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Mimi loved to read. Man, did she read. When I was in Junior High, she moved right around the corner from where my Mom, Dad and I lived, so I visited her often. During the summers or Spring Break, I’d visit her what feels like daily to help her in the garden. She’d work me hard, but she’d pay me well, and she’d always have more lemonade and cookies on hand than I could ever finish off.

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Each time I visited, she was reading a new book. She’d sit at her small table on the back patio, guiding me in whatever I was helping with while she read a book and stopped to admire the birds on her bird feeder every now and again. Mimi loved Cardinals and Owls the most. I’d be covered in sweat and dirt, and I’d ask her, “Mimi, why do you have to have so many different kinds of thyme?” To which she’d likely reply something sort of snarky like, “It’s pretty simple. I like thyme, kid. Whaddya think?? You will too by the time you’re done with that corner of the garden!!” And then she’d bring me something more to drink.

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She’d also do lots of crafts with us any time we were willing. It seemed like one of her favorites to give to us was the paint-by-numbers stained “glass,” but her personal favorite was probably cross stitch. I can remember her giving my sisters lots of other crafts that I wasn’t interested in, but she’d always have plenty of paper and colors on deck to keep me entertained.

Mimi loved us like only a grandmother could, and I think that’s why she enjoyed Christmas so much. She loved giving gifts, but I think it’s because it meant watching us enjoy them. She also loved Santa Claus. She collected dozens of them, and she’d display them proudly every Christmas season.

Sunset: October 1, 2016

She is survived by her sons, Steve Kendrick (my dad) and his wife Catalina of Houston(my mom), and Michael Kendrick of Houston; four grandchildren, Anastacia Wong, Victoria Kendrick, Jaqueline Davis and Anthony Gorrity; as well as ten great grandchildren, Jacob, Elizabeth, Somer, Charlie, Bethany, Colton, Dixie, Mason, Kaelyn and Carter.

From a creative standpoint, I tried to take two or three things she loved and combine them into a single image. I think the thyme-Santa one would’ve been her favorite.

I originally designed the images above in a square format and adapted them to fit my blog. I printed the squares on some high-end matte stock and gave them to my Dad as a gift. My Dad’s sort of a polarizing person when it comes to emotion; he’s either stone-like or he’s very upset. The only gray area about him is his hair. When I gave them to him, I almost expected him to get mad at me.

First sad, then mad at me for making him sad. However, he was really grateful and he’ll be working on some project on how to frame them one of these days. He, very much like his parents, is a tinkerer and creates projects for himself to fill spare moments.

We didn’t have any funeral services for Mimi because 1. I don’t think she’d want that, and 2. My pops wouldn’t be able to handle it. So this is the best I can do, and if I type any more, I won’t be able to hold back the tears I’ve been fighting the whole time. Thanks to the Schmidt Funeral Home in Katy for helping my Dad with all this.

Anthony Gorrity
anthonygorrity@gmail.com
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