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by Halley Sanford July 24, 2022 3 min read 2 Comments

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” That’s what made Eloise – our Granny Eller – such an indelible force in our lives. She taught us so many life lessons, most notably how to love fiercely and unconditionally, but what brings the tears to our eyes is remembering the immense joy we felt in her presence, how when we were with her – even us rambunctious rascals – she made us feel like we were the most important person and priority in that moment. And even though she was a larger-than-life personality, she never made you feel small; she had a unique way of making you feel welcome, it was almost as if we were her peers, and she was our playmate.

We didn’t get nearly long enough with Granny Eller here on earth, but that colorful character sure packed a lot of good times and fun memories in her short life, for which we are forever grateful. This entire collection is an homage to her and in conjunction with it, we hope to honor her by telling her story, starting with a little bit of her origin story, as told by Cheryl, the oldest grandchild and unofficial favorite (*wink*).

“Eloise was easy to love but she didn’t have an easy life. She grew up in a staunchly religious Baptist family, very strict parents, which is so incongruous with the warm, jovial, affectionate Eloise we knew. But to tell the truth, that’s probably what lit that spark of mischief in her, which was one of my favorite things about her and became one of her defining characteristics, I’d say. She was still really young, in her late teens, I think, when she went on a date with my Grandaddy Odell, and legend has it they got a flat tire and she wasn’t going to make curfew, so instead, they just ran off and got married. It sounds crazy in hindsight, especially in this day and age, but in a way, it was so typically Eloise – always making the best out of a bad, even hopeless, situation. Anyway, she kind of became the black sheep of her family after that. Maybe that’s why she poured all of her love and devotion into the family she made; she loved my daddy more than anything, they had the closest bond. To the point it might’ve bothered my mom some, I think. And she was good to Odell, although I think sometimes she wished she’d have just gone home and faced the wrath of missing curfew. He was what you’d call ‘work shy’, whereas she worked two and three jobs at a time to make ends meet. I don’t ever remember her complaining about the work, just that her heels hurt. And she still took the time to play with us, which now that I’m grown and we all work hard and get tired, is tremendously meaningful. More than I could’ve ever understood as a child. So many of my best memories – mine and my sisters’ – have Granny Eller in them. I could tell stories on her for days.”

And we will! Each week throughout the Eloise collection, we will share a story from one of the McMullen girls – Cheryl, Hedy, Audrey, and even Nana! – that will truly paint a picture of what a wonderful woman Granny Eller was and what a vibrant mark she left.


2 Responses

Carina Spies
Carina Spies

August 07, 2022

Such stories warms my heart!!

Robin Fenner
Robin Fenner

August 07, 2022

What a wonderful story! I grew up with a very interesting Grandmother as well. Granny Eller is beaming down on all of you with pride and love ❤️
Robin Fenner RPh
Marble Falls, TX

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