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.