Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kendall L. Hopkins (my grandma)

My grandma is beautiful. She looks like Katherine Hepburn only prettier!
The first time I met her she took down her hair. She undid a neat little bun which was held together with a handful of hair pins and a glorious mane of hair came down. This is where the little girl in her resides I believe. In her hair.
My grandma loves drama and insanity to some degree. Like me, there is a fascination with the tortured mind, perhaps because identifying that in others helps one to feel a little less alone.
Over the years, my grandma introduced me to some of my favorite books and movies. A Thousand Clowns, Harvey, King of Fools... I'm looking right now at the Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, a hard bound book with underlinings and notes in the margins. I think she gave it to me for my 21st birthday. 
I know my grandma only a little bit in some ways which may be the reason I have only fondness for her. She is generous, always exclaiming that she really is a socialist. She is proud of her beauty and always enjoys the attention of a man.  
When I went away to college, my grandma sent me letters fairly regularly. sometimes there was money tucked into the card and more often there were articles about one thing or another. All interesting and thoughtful... I've still have all those letters.
My grandma died yesterday without having to suffer much which is good. I've been looking through Millay's poems to find an appropriate passage to send her off with and it's funny because the things she remarked on have a common theme; the difficulty of life and the "perhaps hand" of death... If there is a life after death, fleeting or eternal, this line (which she underlined on 2/14/1974 (valentine's day)) is maybe what she'd identify with, at least momentarily:
"And she was shocked to see how life goes on
Even after death, in irritating ways;" -Edna St. Vincent Millay
And then there is this, for us.
"We, we, the living, we, the still-alive,-
Why, what a triumph, what a task is here!
But how to go about it?- How connive
To outwit Evil in his proper sphere
And element?-Evil, conservative,
Established, disciplined, adroit, severe.
And yet, in some way, yet, we may contrive
To build our world; if not this year, next year."
Beside this passage she wrote
"Ah, yes

I will proceed with great love...
Happy new year!


  1. she seems very like what I remember of you Caline...and I see the resemblance.
    you have sent her off well and with love.
    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! now we can ponder her afterlife !!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Elaine Hopkins TaylorJanuary 5, 2009 at 11:51 AM

    Well done...your tribute seemed to truly depict the Kendall we remember, your grandma, my aunt. Her candid observations and caring heart will be missed. Love to you and your family!