Farewell to my Grandma, Rosa Anne Cromie, a true inspiration
The world has lost a great woman, but she leaves behind great memories and a legacy for all who knew her to be proud.
My Grandma, Rosa Anne Cromie (Jacques), passed away on March 6, 2013, at the age of 95. She was a U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant during World War II and a mother who lost her son in the Vietnam War, just a few moments in her life which show the depth of her strength. She was also a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, and a friend to many. You tend to meet a lot of people in 95 years.
Aside from her inspirational role as a woman in the military in the 1940s, she was also very family-oriented and a devout Catholic. I have so many memories of Sunday dinners at Grandma and Grandpa Cromie’s house on Anchor Bay, with roast beef (it was dry for Grandpa, but I dipped mine in applesauce) and Grandma’s famous macaroni and cheese (which will likely be missed as much as she will.) Masses at St. Mary’s Church in New Baltimore on Christmas Eve and annually for my Uncle Mike, in which we helped Grandma and Grandpa bring up gifts to the altar, are some of my best memories, as Grandma was totally in her element.
Another place Grandma loved to be was in the sunshine, in particular, the Florida sunshine. And when she wasn’t able to visit Florida, she enjoyed every drop of Michigan sunshine, which always seemed to be readily available in summers spent at the house on Anchor Bay. The sun would always shine on parties with family and friends, and their huge yard overlooking Lake St. Clair was the perfect location to hold all of the Jacques family cousins, aunts, uncles, and especially Great-Grandma Jacques, Grandma’s mother, who was usually at the center of attention.
Summer at the lake also included rides on our boat, which my Dad named “Two Bills” for himself and Grandpa. Also, parties with my dad’s car club friends, in which a few cars including a Chevelle and GTO would adorn the huge lawn as the center of attention, yes on the grass that Grandpa Cromie cut so proudly with his riding-lawn mower.
I was always a little timid of swimming in the lake, as I have always hated swimming with the fishies, but once I was in the water I would enjoy my time with my sister, Michele, and Grandma, who was always decked out in her swim gear which included a swim cap and No-Ad suntan lotion. I would also spend time with my little sister, Melissa, in the kiddie pool, which was sometimes just an inflatable boat filled with water. But I did it for my sister, so she didn’t have to swim alone, ha ha.
As I grew older, my Grandma was always proud of my achievements at school and in my career, especially my graduation from Oakland University and my work writing in the Communications field, which was always my goal. Grandma Cromie was one of my biggest supporters and I thank her for being such an inspiration as I followed my dreams.
Now that I have a family of my own, I am so glad to know that my husband and my son had the chance to know such a great woman. Nico loved visiting Grandma Cromie’s cottage on the lake, as well as talking to her on the phone about school and soccer. In fact, my last real visit with her was highlighted by Nico reading Grandma a book and going over his math facts, which Grandma was always impressed by as he is only 4. I saw the same sparkle in her eye with Nico as she had with me when I was growing up. Knowing that something truly special was going on inside that little head.
Although my unborn daughter, Mia, will never have the chance to meet her Great-Grandma Cromie, she will learn great stories of the strong woman she was. And Grandma knew I was having a girl, that we were naming her Mia, and Grandma was able to touch my baby belly, which I’ll remember closely as a special moment between Grandma and the Great-Granddaugter she’ll never have the opportunity to hold.
Grandma did have the opportunity to cuddle with lots of babies in her lifetime, though, including three of her own, five grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
And did I mention she also enjoyed shopping with those children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren at Hudson’s? As an employee of the Detroit landmark store, Grandma made sure to make great use of her discount on all of us. Another thing we’ll miss!
I hope to continue to make my Grandma proud with my writing, which will hopefully one day include a book, but for now, my blog, which is allowing me to write this tribute, which I know she would not only be proud of but expect from me.
More about my Grandma: