Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Remembering Mary Sheehy Heriza


My Grandmother Mary Heriza died on September 21st, just a month short of her 99th birthday. Though blind In the last years of her life, she was still doing crossword puzzles and emailing and writing on her computer. She loved poetry and could recite reams of her favorites (Milton, Tennyson) by heart. When her eyesight failed, her son called her weekly for a private poetry reading. With the help of my mother, Grandmother wrote two charming autobiographical chapbooks about her childhood which were celebrated in her hometown of Baker City, Oregon.

For many years, Grandmother was the "Story Lady" on KBKR in Baker City, Oregon. She read children's stories on the air on Saturdays and always said a special hello to us grandkids when we were visiting. I feel that I'm a recipient of her love of words and stories. She raised my mother who passed on her love of books and writing to me. My own children are readers and writers. I could go on about Grandmother's sterling attributes and lists of accomplishments, but it is her literary legacy that I'm most thankful for. She's gone now, but the love continues.