Anne Freeman Peace
Beloved mother, grandmother
Mimi died suddenly on Aug. 20, 2007, at
her home in Hopkinsville,
Anne wore these amazing pink sunglasses.
Do you remember them on her? They were legendary to us in our family. They would clash gloriously with no matter what outfit or color she was wearing. I’m not sure anyone else could, or should, wear that style of glasses.
But Mom loved them. And, somehow, they were just right for her.
“I am looking at the world through rose-colored glasses,” she would tell us often.
How true that was.
For, if you knew Anne, and those of us here on this day knew her well, perhaps the first thing you remember about her was her cheery nature.
Or her smile. Or her laugh. Or her jokes.
My sister Pat said our Mom was the nicest person that she had ever known. That she never remembered her saying something mean about anyone. That she never could recall a time when she was mad at any of us. That she never, ever stopped seeing the good in all of us -- even at times when we were struggling to find it ourselves.
I thought that was an amazing observation. Until this week, and her passing, I hadn’t tried to take the full measure of the life of Anne Freeman. I’m not sure that’s possible under the best of circumstances.
But I do know this:
She loved her family. She was a mother to two children in two different generations -- and Pat and I posed our own unique challenges. She filled us with love and made us feel like that, no matter what, she was always proud to be our mom.
She was a stepmother, too, but she never used that term. Marshall, Harold’s son, was her son, confident, and, after Harold died, her rock.
She was so very proud to be a grandmother, for the first time back in 1971 when Katherine was born, then when Scott and Liz came a decade or so later.
And, at long last, when Elise and I had Emily, then Sarah, she welcomed a new generation of grandchildren. She liked to say that her great-grandchildren, Katherine’s sons, Morgan and Calvin, were older than her newest grand-daughter, our 2-year-old Rachel.
She was so very proud of her brothers, Bobby and Lindsay, both of whom rose to command in the United States Army. She would say often that the support she gave them during their careers was her way of serving her country.
She and Lindsay shared a most special bond, the family’s fur shop, where Mom almost 40 years working as office manager, bookkeeper, saleswoman, model and, yes, joke teller. The fur shop was family to her, and to us, in all ways possible. The shop defined her, gave her a sense of purpose and allowed her to spend every day of her working life surrounded by those she held most dear. It was a wonderful, magical place.
And she loved this place, this church. That’s why Pat and I felt we should honor her memory here, within sight of the pew where her father and mother sat every Sunday.
How lucky Anne was to live her life here, in this town, surrounded by friends who loved her, who laughed at her jokes, who listened to her stories, who made her feel special. She played bridge and attended Sunday school with the same folks she played with as a child.
That is a true blessing.
Of course you remember that Anne had a habit of repeating herself. I don’t think she could help it, even though she knew she was doing it.
Every time we would go to a restaurant to eat, she would only finish about a third of what she ordered -- no matter what it was -- and ask for a to-go box.
“My eyes are bigger than my stomach,” she would say. “I guess I don’t have a big capacity.”
Then we would hear this: “My brothers call me the carry-out queen.”
She would me call with news of Hoptown from time to time. For example: “Andrew Self was in the New Era,” she would say.
“For what?” I would ask.
Then I’d hear this: “Well, shoot, I can’t remember. I guess I wouldn’t make a very good reporter.” This routine never varied and repeated hundreds of times.
She would tell the same jokes, repeat the same funny stories, yet always with a gusto that made you wonder if she really knew that this was the 80th time she had said that one line -- this week.
How many of you heard her say this phrase at the beginning of a sentence: “I know I’m repeating myself, but…’’
A few years after Harold died, my wife, Elise, gave her a little book of inspirational thoughts by Mary Englebreit.
Whenever she was confronted with a problem or regret, or heard one of us kids griping about something, she would repeat automatically: “Don’t look back. You’re not going that way.”
As she dealt with the problems that confound us all as we age, or confronted challenges that were unique to just her, it became her mantra.
But before Elise gave her that book, she would often repeat a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow she learned as a girl in school. She never told me the name of the poem, or who wrote it. But she said it so often, that it came to mind this week, as I wrote these remarks.
When I looked it up, I couldn’t believe how appropriate it was for this day.
“Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
“Life is but an empty dream!
“For the soul is dead that slumbers,
“And things are not what they seem.
“Life is real! Life is earnest!
“And the grave is not its goal.
“Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
“Was not spoken of the soul.
“Not enjoyment, and not sorrow
“is our destined end or way;
“But to act, that each tomorrow,
“Find us farther than today.”
May God bless you, her friends, this wonderful Freeman family, this church she loved, this city she adored.
We thank you for loving her.
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