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She was real woman before it was fashionable; before we became obsessed with the shell, the surface, all that could be bought and sold. She played a mean game of basketball before Title IX. She could catch fish at will. At 12, she shed her clothes and jumped from a Morrisville bridge to skinny-dip in the river below. She moved to Alaska after the earthquake and found a home in a building that had just slid down a hillside. In her 50’s she burned the dirt road between PA and Alaska many times camping and birding along the way. She was an avid reader knowing intuitively the power of the written word. She kept sharp with the New York Times Crossword puzzle and the knowledge that wherever she was – she was supposed to be. Grammy – at 95 – was the real deal- A REAL WOMAN.

Liberated long before the word was part of the radical women’s nomenclature, Doris was forever waving the banner for Planned Parenthood – an organization that remains under attack by those seeking to thrust women like Grammy into that tight box of post-war decorum. Losers – all, against women like Grammy. She was a woman with positions and beliefs to which I can only aspire. I ask myself now if I would be brave enough to give condoms to the young people in my family? If I would be mortified if I pulled my wallet out of my purse only to shower the table with condoms – brightly colored condoms? Ahh, to believe in something so strongly that nothing short of success could thwart or embarrass. I’m not sure I’d handle the exaggerated rumors of my death with the grace and aplomb of Grammy. I wonder if I could simply complain of discomfort in my chest and not cry like the little girl I’d be reduced to with the knowledge of a broken rib.

I’ve never had the pleasure of Grammy’s cooking but I am told her cheesecake was food for the gods. And she often questioned if this was on the menu in the kitchen of the Big House.
I believe in our most peaceful moments we will hear Doris Caum whispering her latest proclamation –

“YES DEAR, THERE IS CHEESECAKE IN HEAVEN.”

With love and admiration,
Gwen Davis-Feldman
2/26/11

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