That's how I will remember Gerry Griggs, who passed away a week ago. It's been a sad time for my family, but I'm going to hold on to Gerry's laugh and her smile and be thankful that she graced our lives.
Geraldine Elizabeth Bicz grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., the daughter of Stan and Mary Bicz. When she became a big girl, and it was time to go off to college, Gerry picked little McKendree College, a liberal arts school in little Lebanon, Ill., my hometown. She met my brother, Stan, and the two of them fell in love. They ended up marrying in 1966 in a big, Catholic wedding in Buffalo.
I met Gerry when I was a senior in high school and she a senior at McKendree. Stan brought her home for dinner one evening, so I knew she must have been a special
young woman. Of course, she was. My mom made a fancy dinner, and we ate at the dining-room table, rather than the kitchen table. We ate in the dining room only on Sundays, holidays and special occasions. I remember Gerry sat to the left of Stan and to the right of my mother, and she looked cute in her 1960's hairdo. She met with my approval.
Gerry and I became fast friends when she had to sleep in my room one time, after college graduation but before the wedding. Of course, I wasn't in the room. I was supposed to sleep in my brothers' room, in my brother Brad's bed, while Stan would he in his own bed. My mother told me to be sure to remember that I would need to go to my brothers' room when I came home that Friday night.
I quietly slipped into the house late that night, after drinking a few brews with some other underage beer-drinking buddies, and I naturally went straight to my room. I kicked off my shoes and dropped my britches before Gerry caught the attention of my foggy mind and told me to go to Stan and Brad's room. Yikes! "Sorry, Gerry, I'm outta here!"
The next morning, I had to get up and go to work at Heer's grocery store, where it
didn't take long until I had to regurgitate some of the previous night's barley and hops. Mr. Heer sent me home to get well, as if I didn't have a hangover and didn't deserve to be fired. Nice lads like me didn't have hangovers, so it must've been the flu. Sure. Heh, heh, heh.
Back at home, I visited the bathroom again and then went back to bed. My mom wondered how I could suddenly be so sick. Coming to the rescue, Gerry said it must be the flu or a stomach bug. It was going around, she said. My mom bought it, and went to make me some chicken soup. As she headed off to the kitchen, Gerry looked at me and smiled her joyful smile, and she gave me a fooled-mom wink. She walked away, chuckling.
We were friends from then on, and I knew that my brother had snagged a winner.
Stan and Gerry moved several times over the years for different jobs, and Gerry gave birth to two girls, Jennifer and Jackie. Gerry always enjoyed life and had a lot of friends. Who wouldn't want to be friends with Gerry?
When we learned recently of Gerry's faltering health, she didn't let on that it was serious. She didn't want to worry the family, I'm sure. So, I wasn't worried when she was about to go to the hospital for what she called a surgical procedure. The surgery failed to work. She returned a little more than two weeks ago so that surgeons could give it another try. Still, I wasn't worried. Then, all of a sudden, we were told that the surgery failed again and that we were going to lose Gerry. How could that be? Such cheery, fun, loving people should not leave us too soon.
Godspeed, Gerry. You are gone from us, yet your spirit and smile are with us. I still hear
you talking and laughing at the same time.