Saturday, July 7, 2007

Judy Borseth, 1912-2007

I'm very sorry to report that my grandmother, Judy Borseth, died yesterday at the age of 95. We've known for some time that the end was near, though we'd been surprised by her resilience in bouncing back from illness so many times in the past that it's hard to believe she won't, in fact, outlive us all.

Our attentive readers will remember Judy from her first meeting with Miles back in May. I'm really happy that they got to spend some time together. Many people remarked on the family resemblance.

We hear so much about the power of positive thinking these days, it's time to recognize the power of good old Nordic stoicism. For most of the past decade, when asked how she was doing, Grandma would simply reply, "Well, I'm still alive... " -- always letting it be understood that her feelings about that fact were rather equivocal. Still, her understated humor and good nature never deserted her, and she retained enough hints of the sparkle we all remembered from her younger days for us to wish that she yet had many more to spend with us.

A little over five years ago, I made a short movie about Judy and her 90th birthday party, which hopefully gives a little glimpse of that sparkle and the effect it had on her family. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, you can see it here, in three convenient segments:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Uncle Jay has also set up a memorial blog with guest book.

Tonight we assembled some family members for dinner and later played a round of Scrabble in Judy's honor. It was her favorite game, and she never lost her mastery of it. Even when her short-term memory became somewhat challenged, and dates and chronologies a bit of a muddle, she still knew the Scrabble dictionary frontwards and backwards. But she let other players consult the dictionary freely during the game, and her version of the rules forbid any punitive deductions for attempting to play a non-existent word. "It's a learning game," she would declare. It was one of her many pithy maxims that we will always remember--now that her dancing days are truly over.

We'll miss you, Grandma.


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