A Quarles Legend

Posted: March 5, 2012 in Family

This weekend we said Rest In Peace and See You Soon to a true Quarles legend…Inez Orrange Quarles (Big Ma).

I’m only a grandaughter-in-law, but in the time I got to know her, she truly felt like a grandmother. I never knew my grandmother Eva and I only had 13 years with grandma Donnie, but the brief time I had with Big Ma let me know what a grandmother truly feels like. The Quarles family was blessed with 95 years, I was blessed with 6 or so and I’m truly thankful for each moment. Some people greet you, say hello, it’s good to see you, but she meant it. Every story you told Big Ma, she was SO excited to hear and so proud. It will be hard to replace that grandmother void in our lives.

You know that “in-law” feeling you get, when you feel comfortable with everyone, but you still really kind of don’t? Big Ma was my sense of comfort. If I could find Big Ma in the room, all was well in the world. I could slide right up to Big Ma, we’d sit back and have some great conversation about flowers, Dancing with the Stars, or whatever Big Ma wanted to school me on for the day. I thoroughly enjoyed her stories about Vinnie growing up as a boy. She loved, loved, loved her grandchildren.

My fondest memory of Big Ma is at a Quarles family reunion. Vince and I were still dating and I was reluctant to get in the family photo. I told Big Ma that I didn’t want to ruin the pictures by having to be cut out later :). Big Ma didn’t like taking pictures, so in true grandma fashion, she took my hand and told me I could sit right back there with her. We sat, we talked, and we people watched until the picture business was over.

My second best memory of Big Ma is the time she met my mother. They sat in our apartment and talked for HOURS. My mom told me after meeting Big Ma that she could only pray to age as beautifully and wonderfully as Big Ma. Years later when she was eating bad, not working out, etc, she would say “I’m not gonna age like Big Ma eating this.” My mother met her only once and her life was changed. Cliche’ but true.

Poise, sophistication, wit, class.. this list could truly go on forever. Vince said it best, “she was not tall, she was not wide, but she was STRONG.”

I’ve been to MANY MANY funerals, but this Homegoing was one of the best. The pastor spoke on the topic of God giveth and God taketh away and that quite frankly we need to accept that this is reality. The key takeaway – be thankful for what’s in between.

I am truly grateful to have known such a sweet and loving grandmother.

Angie is texting me while I type – “this is the official passing of the baton. The sole Quarles woman of this lineage,” I proudly carry that title, but I reckon I need to have some babies!

  1. Angela Hughes says:

    Hi sis! Awesome…simply awesome. I absolutely adored this tribute to Big Ma. I’m so glad that you wrote this. Love ya!

    • Pete Taylor says:

      Mrs. Quarles*, thanks so much for doing this. Tammy her 2nd of 3 GDIL’s feels much the same way as you did; that Bigma was like her very own grandmother. And BOY did Bigma ever win over MY mother-in-law as well! They didn’t get to meet that often but shamefully in the past few years, the truth is, my MIL, Iona Putmon, CALLED Bigma on the phone even more than I did!

      Vinnie did have it right. But in my time on this planet, NO one… and I mean NO ONE… gave bigger, stroooonger hugs than my Bigma. That is a fact that I will always take with me.

      I’m blessed not to have had to go through many funerals and home-goings but this one did me so much good. It was as she would have wanted it, with only those dearest to her present to see her off. Not a day will go by where I won’t miss her but now all of my thoughts are filled with joyful remembrance and not sorrow.

      *And I know what you mean. I’m the last remaining Taylor male with the ability to pass the name on. Come on Y chromosome!

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