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  • She was 91 when I met her. I had just moved into the cottage next door to her turn of the century Green & Green on Red Hill, so named because it had been a bastion of socialist thinkers in Los Angeles back in the 20's. She still had a fair bit of memory, and a very sharp sense of humor, which lasted till the very end. I can vouch for that; I was with her.

    She'd told me, three life-altering events had occurred during her fifty-first year:
    1. Her mother died. As the youngest of eight siblings, she'd been her mom's caregiver.
    2. She married the love of her life. He had owned an advertising agency on Wilshire Boulevard. She had been his secretary.
    3. She stopped menstruating.

    Though she had no children, her groom had a son who married the same year and quickly made her a grandmother. Eleven happy years passed. Then her true love died. Soon after, she married his best friend. It wasn't a love marriage. She made it very clear it was a union based on friendship. Through it, she acquired two daughters. The next time she was widowed, none of the stepchildren or grandchildren lived anywhere near California. One niece lived nearby in a convalescent home. Two others, who were in their seventies, drove in from Riverside once a month with culinary treats.

    She was a hundred-and-one when I moved into the Green & Green. She couldn't remember who I was, but she knew she had known me. And she knew she loved me. Frequently, she held my hand and asked, Honey, please tell me, where will you be when I'm gone?

    She missed her hundred and fourth birthday by one month. Many people of all ages ascended Red Hill to celebrate her life. She'd been the embodiment of her name. She was Grace!

    Photo by Dave Ptach: the cottage next to Grace's Green & Green on Red Hill
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