Fabulous

A lot of people called her “Fabulous,” my husband’s grandmother. Most called her “Fabie” (Fa-bee). That’s what her children called her. Her real name was Fabiola, and she was named by one of her brothers who had seen that name in a book.

Fabie was one of those late in life babies, born into a family that had for so long been nothing but boys. So when she came, you can imagine how they spoiled her. This was a wealthy and well-to-do family, educated, and it was back in 1915. Fa-bi-o-la.

It puzzled me when I first heard her name, I was about 16 and thought it was foolish for a family to let a child name a baby after a story book character. Especially that strange name. Didn’t they think this out, that the child would be taunted and ridiculed at school?

I’m sure they did. But they still named her Fabiola because it meant so much to her brother. It didn’t matter to them what other people might think.

I never asked her if she was teased at school for that name. I didn’t have to because after knowing her for about fifteen minutes, I could see that this lady was immune to that sort of thing. She loved to laugh at herself. In fact, the more you teased her, the lovlier she got. She never cussed but didn’t give you the feeling you couldn’t cuss around her. If you wanted her to blush, all you had to do was tell her a dirty joke.

She’s one of just a handful of people who have ever made me think i want to be just like her.

I never met a classier lady. I’m not talking about the sort of class you get from wealth or being born into the right family. She just didn’t have any sort of bitterness in her, was always pleasant and soothing, genuine. Softspoken. She never talked bad about a single person or thing. Ever. One of the most amazing things about her was that if you sat next to her you got an automatic backrub. Or she’d hold your hand when you talked to her. She’d train her eyes deeply to yours and talk to you as if you were the only person on this earth. You’d get these magical vibes from her, a flowers and rainbows feeling.

She wasn’t just like that to family. She was like that to everyone. It did not matter who you were, where you came from, the lifestyle you led… you got the “fabulous” treatment.

I count myself lucky for having had her in my life. She was an excellent role model for my husband and I, for my children, for anyone who ever met her. She was buried today at the age of 92.

I’ll pass on one cute little thing she told me a long time ago. She said that during The Depression all the children would come and play at her house because she was the only child with toys. She may have believed that, but I know better. She was already fabulous.

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17 thoughts on “Fabulous

  1. What a beautiful story, and I’ve never heard of a person better named.
    Fabulously fitting. My condolences to you and the family, yet what a blessing for you all to have had her.

  2. Thank God you said so. I had this feeling that I had met a lady like that, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where. (I need a new memory board in my head) I did think about that BBQ, but was going to wait until today and dig out the pictures and check before I said anything.

  3. Well Kit,
    I thought I had cried enough in the last few days but you got me again! I couldn’t have described her better, and in fact, yesterday walking from the church to the cemetary, I was telling someone those exact things about her. Even though I know she’s in a better place now, we all still grieved so much for who she was and how much she meant to us. We were laughing at how she would say Oh Shish! instead of Sh_t when she needed to vent. We also all noticed how she looked like she was “glowing” in her casket as if she was floating and feeling an extreme peace. Thanks so much for writing about her and sharing how special our Momie (for some strange reason she always spelled it this way instead of Mawmie) was to us.
    And Liv, I’m pretty sure you met her when you were in Louisiana. Hope you’re all doing well!

  4. I think you did, Liv. She was Gammy’s mom, so from Blane’s mom’s side of the family.

    Jill, sorry the girls and I couldn’t be there. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. I loved this post because !surprise ! my family did this too.

    My cousin’s son named her daughter Tasmin- she’s named after Anthony’s favorite cartoon character The Tasmanian Devil from Bug’s Bunny. ( The name Bunny is taken already- my sister’s name is Esther so we call her Esther Bunny )

    The funny thing is we don’t call her Tas or Tasmin…that’s right we call her
    ” Tasmanian ”

    And darn if she’s not proud to be called that.
    amm

  6. Yes I did meet her. I’ve spent hours going through photos (I don’t give up when I’m on a mission) and on the last few pages of the very last album (why does it always happen like that?) I found the ones from the BBQ. I remembered her straight away. Didn’t she have the most beautiful face! Looking at that smile, she looked an awful lot younger than the age she must have been then.
    Thanks Jill, we’re fine, Hope the same goes for you and yours. Please pass on my condolences.

  7. When my Grandmother passed away she was 96- and about a month later her sister passed away to.

    My grandmother’s sister was a for real, honest to goodness Bush Pilot- she loved to fly and on the day she found out her vision had gotten really bad and she was ‘grounded’ we thought that would kill her for sure.

    She was heartbroken- I mean, she was RUINED.

    But she pulled herself together and she just spent the next 20 years of her life traveling and making fun of the Pilots who got to fly ” Special Ed Planes that did everything except have sex with you….” THAT IS A REAL QUOTE and she said it so loud and often at the airports that none of us wanted to travel with her.

    Anyway, losing my Grandmother- that broke her spirit.

    Kitty, this post really touched my heart for a couple of reasons. I’m really glad you wrote it.

    Anita Marie

  8. Yes…and that’s the reason that to this day I’m great in Panic Mode- once she had engine trouble and she told me and my cousin that the first kid who started to cry better hope we crashed because when we landed she was gonna thump us a good one.

    PS they sure were live wires, I mean do you think I really invent all the weird characters in my stories? Ha!

  9. LOL, Anita Marie, that is hilarious. And {{{screams}}} your stories just got ten times scarier knowing your characters could be real.

    How soon can you come over to the dark side? We have candy you know. Muhahaha.
    Seriously, talk to Max, she is going to do a special screenwriting class or something like that.

  10. What a nice tribute. I love her name. At 92 you really can celebrate a life. Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment. I am sorry your family will be missing another loved one this year.

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