joan fay portillo shaffer

A Dozen Years....

A dozen years have passed since...

I lost my grandma and the future namesake of Gerald & Joan.

I moved to Oxford, Mississippi and into a condo next door to Jonathan Hardin.

Life fell apart and then truly began for me.

I'm not sure how it's possible to lose and gain so much at the very same time, but that happened in August 2003. I never imagined what life would look like a dozen years later, but if I could have picked a story line, this one most definitely would have exceeded my wildest dreams.

For many years, I dreaded this day because it was the most difficult one of my life. After twelve years, I choose to remember it as the start of my new life, one that included my next door neighbor and soon-to-become best friend, husband and father of my child.

As my grandma was ever the optimist, I think she'd want me to remember it that way. 

Not the best photo (sorry, Lauren), but this is the last airport photo I have of my grandma, my sister and me. It was taken by my mom in August 2001 at the arrival gate of LAX, one week before I started my senior year in high school. Little did we know it would be the last time she'd ever be able to meet us at the gate (a family tradition since my mom left home in 1974) or the airport. Almost two years to the day, I flew to LA for the first time since 9/11 to say goodbye to her. 

Not the best photo (sorry, Lauren), but this is the last airport photo I have of my grandma, my sister and me. It was taken by my mom in August 2001 at the arrival gate of LAX, one week before I started my senior year in high school. Little did we know it would be the last time she'd ever be able to meet us at the gate (a family tradition since my mom left home in 1974) or the airport. Almost two years to the day, I flew to LA for the first time since 9/11 to say goodbye to her. 

Vintage Image of the Day: 15

Throughout the month of January, we are scanning and sharing a vintage film slide each day. This week we are sharing vacation photos from California in the 1970s. 

My grandma Joan in the late 1970s. She would have wanted this photo to be taken because of the beautiful flowers. 

My grandma Joan in the late 1970s. She would have wanted this photo to be taken because of the beautiful flowers. 

Vintage Image of the Day: 15

Throughout the month of January, we are scanning and sharing a vintage film slide each day. This week we're sharing vacation photos from California in the 1970s.

My beautiful grandma Joan in the equally beautiful California light.

My beautiful grandma Joan in the equally beautiful California light.

Vintage Image of the Day: 13

Throughout the month of January, we're scanning and sharing a vintage film slide each day. This week we're sharing vintage vacation photos from California in the 1970s. 

Joan at Disneyland in the late 1970s. Notice she's drinking milk!

Joan at Disneyland in the late 1970s. Notice she's drinking milk!