When I was little I was always jealous of the other kids in class whose grandparents had normal names like, "grandma + grandpa." My brothers and I called our maternal grandparents by their Chinese titles: PoaPoa (grandma) and Gong Gong (grandpa). As a toddler my paternal grandma wanted me (the eldest grandchild) to call her "grandmother." That didn't really roll out easily of my two-year-old mouth and so I called my grandparents Goppy Gow (grandma) and Gumpa (grandpa). Made up words and phrases were kind of my thing. As I grew older I came to love the fact that they were uniquely mine through my renaming of them.
I lost Gumpa last Thanksgiving and yesterday my Goppy Gow passed away.
She was full of life, energy, and opinions. She always wore this stack of different sized and designed gold bangles on one arm and they would make so much noise whenever she would do anything. They are the perfect representation of her: unique, multifaceted, attention getting, and a little over the top. She was from Ireland and one of my favorite memories of her was when my dad got her to show me her Irish dancing (think Riverdance...) in her living room. Growing up she was some sort of celebrity in my world. She seemed so glamorous and knew all these little tidbits about how to do things right or politely that I never thought of.
Her personality and vivaciousness live on through my work today through my collection Muriel, named after her. I love you, Goppy Gow. Your memory, lessons, and style will always be such a part of me.