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5" x 7" Oil on canvas

If an idle mind and hands are the devils workshop, then my grandmother Alice Burke should be canonized as a saint. This weekend marks her 95th Birthday and this oil sketch of her busy hands is my gift to her.

Born Alice Kopidlowski the same year that World War I broke out. She lost her father at an early age and had to drop out of school in the third grade to work in a button factory. She met my grandfather during The Great Depression and they eloped in 1932. She made up for the lack of formal education with hard work and determination. At 95 she still reads a newspaper cover to cover every day. In her day she could sew a dress without a pattern, make a slip cover for a worn couch, wallpaper a room, change a broken window, cook a great meal, make toys out of household items to amuse her grandchildren, boost a kids ego by purposefully loosing a thousand consecutive games of checkers without ever seeming board.

Growing up I never saw her sit and eat a meal until everyone was fed. She couldn't go away on vacation without hotels offering her employment. At 95 her failing legs have made her do what her nature never allowed, sit down. But her lack of mobility doesn't stop her from doing for others. In her night stand she keeps a pad to record the foot size of every family member and friend, and hardly a get together passes without a gift of crocheted slippers.

Happy Birthday Grandma!

10 Comments
  1. Maisie
    February 27, 2009 -

    Larry, What a remarkable grandmother you have. I'm so glad to see that her family loves her and realizes what a wonderful contribution she has made to your family tree.

  2. February 27, 2009 -

    How beautiful, Larry, and how touching! She sounds like quite a woman. A lovely tribute to her here.

  3. Mom
    February 27, 2009 -

    Larry, I am so touched by this. I HAVE NO WORDS ACCEPT TO SAY I'm so happy people see her for what she truly is, a wonderful loving Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma.

  4. February 28, 2009 -

    She must be regarded as the TRUE VIRTUOUS WOMAN!

  5. Fred and Pat Heller
    February 28, 2009 -

    Alice Sr., as we know her, is an amazing woman, even more so when you know her hisory. No matter the obstacle, she keeps on going. As recipients of her famous slippers, we are reminded of her each time we wear them. Fred and Pat Heller

  6. Pat D
    February 28, 2009 -

    Larry, Over the years I have found your grandmother to be gracious, engaging, and generous in her love for her family and friends. Wish her my warm regards. And the painting invites us all to witness how to live the good life. Pat

  7. Donna Possenriede
    March 1, 2009 -

    Hi Larry, What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. We are honored to know her. Love, Rich and Donna Possenriede

  8. Krissy
    March 1, 2009 -

    Your words on Granny are as beautiful as your art Larry, thank you for sharing. ~Krissy

  9. Karol
    March 2, 2009 -

    How blessed my family is to be part of your wonderful family. We love Granny as if she were our own. Your gift to her touches my heart and makes me yearn even more for my own Mom. Always Karol

  10. December 26, 2010 -

    Rest in peace Granny.