Mary Lucille Mushett a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a friend. Her wit, vivacious personality, and loving heart shape my memories of the felicitous times.
My grandmother was the same person to all she knew. Not pretentious or phony. She prided herself in speaking her mind. She would often say: ?When I love I love from the heart?. She expressed her Italian pride through sayings like: ?There are two kinds of people Italians and those who wished they were? and ?You’re half Italian and don’t forget that’s you’re better half? She would teach morality with the phrase: ?If I had to steal it than I don’t need it? and she displayed her confidence with the famous question: ?You know where you get your good looks??
Speaking of pride, she also was extremely proud of her family. She would often brag about her daughters, grandchildren, and especially her great-grandchildren. She would tell all her friends about Janice’s realty success, Maryanne the artist, and Dolores the photographer. She said, ?I’ve got good girls.?
Mary was the 3rd child in the Mille family; she was born in Connecticut on July 28, 1925. She was the only child in her family born in a hospital. Sal, Mary’s younger brother was broken-hearted when Mary moved to California and her older sister, Concetta, said: ?Mary was like a mother to her siblings?. Mary never stopped being motherly. She had a heart for others and when people were wronged or cheated she had something to say about it.
She enjoyed having company and loved when we came over. Being around her family brought her tremendous joy. But you’d better come with the grandchildren or great-grandchildren or you were in trouble. Shortly after Monica was born, Maryanne went over to the Fountain Valley house, but Maryanne didn’t bring Monica with her. Mary and Bob told their daughter, ?Don’t ever come here without the baby?. I remember when Monica, Sarah, and I were younger and grandma would stalk her house with Jell-O Pudding Snacks, Hi-C, Cool Whip, Otter Pops, Captain Crunch and Lucky Charms. She spoiled her grandchildren with trips to Toy City.
I loved visiting my grandma in New Mexico. She would take me to Michael’s and scoot her feet across the floor, up and down the isles; she’d buy me beads and crafts that we would do later do together. Grandma wasn’t known for her fast paced walk by any means, if she had a shopping cart she would be half way around the store before you could blink. Grandma had many artistic talents. She could sketch and paint. She had a real knack for creating floral arrangements. For nearly twenty years she was a professional floral designer, and later she used her talents to make table arrangements for her church. Grandma Mary was best known for her sewing talent. She could whip up a pair of pajamas in a few hours. She made Maryanne’s and Marie’s wedding dresses, Barbie and doll clothes, and anything your heart desired. One evening my mom was visiting and Grandma didn’t want her to leave. She said: ?Don’t go so soon, what is so important that you have to leave?? My mom reminded her that it was late and besides she had nothing to wear if she were to stay over. Well, guess what Grandma did? She sewed a dress from some spare material and my mom stayed over after all.
Grandma had a lovely singing voice. She would sing and hum. Sometimes she would make up her own songs like the one we call ?Lazy Bones?. For those of you who don’t know it is goes something like this:
Sleeping in the sun,
Never get a days work done,
Bom bom bombombom
I was always proud to introduce grandma to my friends because she was a fun lady. Her entertaining comments and easy laughter made people feel good. Her eyes sparkled with joy and she would tell you herself what we all knew to be true, she had beautiful skin. She always wore colorful dresses and bright red-orange lipstick. It was so easy to make her laugh, and when she laughed it was out loud while her whole body shook. When Danielle, Mary’s first great-grandchild, was born she told her daughters, ?I’m moving back to California to be with my great-granddaughter?. She had a picture of Danielle that she would kiss so much that it had lipstick marks all over it. Grandma had a generous heart even when she could no longer drive she would look through catalogues and pick out presents for her loved ones. Just after Grandma passed away Danielle wanted to wear a much-to-small pair of pajamas because they were from her ?Great?.
One thing we all knew about Mary is she was a fabulous cook. She made an amazing Italian spaghetti sauce and when it came to lasagna nothing could compare. Best of all, she made cous cous, not just any cous cous, but a Moroccan recipe that has become a family favorite.
Grandma appreciated all that we did for her. One Christmas we pulled some money together and bought her a TV. She was so grateful it brought tears to her eyes. When she collected herself she asked the infamous question: ?How much did you pay?? Any time you did something special for Grandma she was thankful. About a month ago I soaked my grandma’s feet in a foot tub, scrubbed her feet, and painted her toenails. She said, ?That Sheilaugh she really loves me.? The kind things we did for her did not go unnoticed!
Mary tied the knot with Robert Mushett on December 22, 1945. They had four children each of them born in a different part of the world. Her youngest child and only son, Leo passed away at the age of 29. Mary passed away a day before Leo’s birthday; she never was able to get over the loss of her son. It is a comfort to know that Mary is at peace and finally holds her beautiful son in her arms once again. Words cannot express how much we are going to miss her. If Mary could leave us with some real-life wisdom she would say, ?Don’t get old; getting old really sucks!?