MINNIE FINE (1902-2004)


     Minnie Fine, my grandmother, passed away 2004 January 25, Sunday morning, and her funeral was a week later, February 1, to give her family time to make travel plans to her home in Montréal, Québec. She was born 1902 July 16. Her children and five of six grandchildren were able to make the trip, the first time we have all been together in a dozen years.

     I share my grandmother's virtues and her faults: I'm clever, I form strong opinions, and I have a firm sense of doing the right thing. She held a grudge longer than I do, if that's possible, but she had similar duration of memory for good deeds.

     After losing her husband with two small children, Minnie Fine ran her business and raised her family. She had enough left over for financial comfort in her old age and for deep and enduring friendships. She taught me that life's commitments should be honored and life's pleasures should be enjoyed.

     Stories were her medium for communicating life's deepest messages about maintaining values and keeping promises. There were childhood stories from the Canadian province of New Brunswick, young-woman stories moving to Montréal, Québec, classroom stories from her teaching years, stories of being a single parent raising a family in hard times, stories of people doing the right thing, herself and others, and stories of people falling from grace.

     For the lion's share of the twentieth century, Minnie Fine blessed her family and friends with a vibrant presence, a firm sense of doing right, and a terrific sense of humor. After 101 years, as she would have wanted, her funeral was more a celebration of her life and joy than a lamentation of her passing. I see her face in the mirror.



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