She was very prim and proper, and she thought that at age 56, she was way too young to have any grandchildren. She decided that I would either call her Grandmother, or Frances (her given name). I attempted to say "Frances" and it came out "Sancy". Well, it stuck. For her, it was good because it didn't REALLY sound like a old lady's name such as Nannie, or Nana, or Granny or something, and it also wasn't formal like Grandmother.
She was a "cool" grandma. She was definitely NOT one to sit around knitting or crocheting. She went on trips...lots of trips. She travelled all over Europe to Italy and France and Great Britain (and I think she went to Yugoslavia). She went to Asia to China and India. She also went to New York quite a bit. There was a group of people from the small town we are from that would rent a bus (kind of like a Greyhound), and they would travel to New York to see shows and go shopping.
I think that her favorite place was the beach. Atlantic Beach, NC to be specific. My extended family would gather for at the beach and vacation together. We would either stay at the Oceanana or rent a house/duplex in neighboring Emerald Isle. She was always looking for an excuse to go to the beach for a quick weekend, or longer. So it came as no surprise to us when she purchased a trailer on a strip of land right next door to the Oceanana, a place our family had stayed for years. She would move down to this trailer (single-wide) in June, and stay until Labor Day. She even had her mail forwarded there.
The summer before my senior year in high school, Sancy invited me to come and spend the summer with her at the beach. I got a job at Roses, which is kind of like a Wal-Mart, but not really. At the time, there was no Wal-Mart in the vicinity of Atlantic Beach, so Roses was where most people bought their sunscreen, water toys, and beach chairs. I worked most of the summer, and got a few days off to spend in the sun. I had a blast with some friends I met at work.
Sancy was a strong woman. She liked to be in control of things (kind of sounds like my mother, and myself). I asked her why she didn't remarry after my grandfather (Butter, as he was affectionately known) passed, and she said that she didn't want to give up control of the car keys, the checkbook, or the thermostat. Later she added she didn't want to give up control of the remote control. And as I have learned being married, sometimes you have to give up control of one or more of those things (at least temporarily).
A friend of mine recently lost her grandmother, and I was reminded of what a gift grandmothers (especially mine, and hers) are to us. I miss Sancy a lot. It is hard to believe that she has been gone for over 3 years. I think about her just about every day. She was a powerful force in my life, and I still ask myself WWSD (What would Sancy Do?) in certain situations.
Sancy did so much for me. She taught me to appreciate classical music. She taught me to appreciate art. She opened up new worlds to me.
There will never be anyone like Sancy.