Why I Think of My Grandmother Every Time I Put Boots On


My grandmother used to call me “Bootsie” because I refused to wear anything other than my sparkly pink cowboy boots when I was a kid. My insistence had a little bit to do with the fact that my family happened to be living in Texas at the time and a lot to do with my stubborn 8-year-old fashion sense and commitment to making a statement.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 9.49.25 AM

“Well hey there, Bootsie,” she’d say in her Philadelphia accent when I marched into a room. She’d be cooking something — she was always cooking something — and I’d twirl for her and stomp around the room while she worked. She’d ohh and ahh and say I was a model.

It’s been a long time since she called me by that nickname. In her last few years with us, her memory declined, and although she always seemed to know who I was, that was about all she could remember.

Gram passed away about eight months ago (I wrote about her passing here), and now I live in New York City. Although a lot has changed, I still rarely don any footwear that isn’t boots. However, now I’ve replaced the flashy, bejeweled cowboy boots with a pair of dirty and well-worn black Frye boots. They still give me the same shiver of confidence when I march out the door in them.

Every time I splash through a puddle or thud into a restaurant or bar, I think of Gram and I smile. I know she’s with me.

And I can hear her saying, “Well hey there, Boostie.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 10.04.05 AM
My sister and I with Gram.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s a memory with a loved one that you didn’t realize meant so much until they passed away? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected]. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

Want to celebrate the human spirit? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Other

In 7,367 Minutes, I’ll Witness the Event That Made This Moment Possible

In just 122 hours, a year of preparation will all get put to the test. In 7,367 minutes, a group of 30 of the most talented, brave and amazing young women of Minnesota are going to be walking across a stage in gowns just as unique as the girls in them.  April 25 is the Minnesota [...]

I Asked If I Could Handle Being Her Mom. This Was the Answer I Needed.

I suppose it could’ve been worse. Over the years, I’ve told myself this when thinking back to July 20, 2007. Everything about my third pregnancy was normal, right down to a good strong heartbeat, a perfect ultrasound that showed 10 fingers and ten toes, and a baby that measured exactly as it should each week. [...]

Why I Choose to Call Myself a Cripple

I’m a cripple. Yes, I said it. I’m not the pathetic, broken person your mind may have conjured up when you read the word. I am a strong, adventurous, stubborn woman, who just so happens to have joints that can dislocate without warning. Eight years ago I was pretty healthy. I held a brown belt [...]

The Last Man to Finish the Boston Marathon Has an Incredible Story to Tell

The 2015 Boston Marathon’s last place finisher was Maickel Melamed. Melamed, 39, originally from Venezuela, walked through the night before crossing the finish line early Tuesday morning, CBS Boston reported. In total, Melamed, who lives with muscular dystrophy and has difficulty moving, walked nearly 18 hours to finish the 26.2 miles race. A group of [...]