Randomness…or not? Farewell to Miss Gladys

Linda Joyce Contemplates is the title of my blog. The name is intended to capture my musings of different aspects of life. I am more than a wife. I am more than a daughter. I am more than a writer. As a woman, there is much I contemplate.

Today, I’m looking for patterns in what feels like randomness in order to process the changes rolling in waves into my life.

Miss Gladys House Miss Gladys’ house restored after Hurricane Katrina. It took five years.

A week ago, my father called to deliver some sad news. He said, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but Miss Gladys’ granddaughter just called. Miss Gladys passed away on Sunday.” He proceeded to provide Keandra’s address and phone number. She’s Miss Gladys’ granddaughter.

This morning, I put a condolence card in the mail to Keanda and her family. She and I have never met; however, I know much about her. You see, my grandmother and Miss Gladys, despite their 20-plus age difference (and a host of other differences that include race, religion and political preferences) were best friends. One house separated them on Wingate Drive in New Orleans. These two women talked about everything, including the life and times of their grandchildren. Therefore, I’m sure Keanda knows as much about me as I know about her.

My father told me that Miss Gladys must have risen on Sunday morning and ate a bite, a few dishes were found neatly stacked in the sink. She went back to bed to read her Bible.

Several people called that day, but she never answered the phone. Her cousin, the one who lives across Filmore and down a few blocks, went to check on her. Miss Gladys was found in her bed, on her side, with her Bible open looking peaceful, as though asleep.

Did she have a pact with God, and this was the time they’d planned?

Miss Gladys celebrated her birthday in February, snuggled between Fat Tuesday and Valentine’s Day, and I was there to commemorate the occasion. The timing worked out perfectly when I was home visiting for Mardi Gras.

I brought a gift to Miss Gladys. A Japanese doll. I had made it when I was ten and living in Japan. I sent it to my grandmother and the doll resided in a prominent place in the living room curio cabinet. The doll came back to me when my grandmother passed away. It seemed only right to return it to New Orleans, on the same street, a door away from where it had lived for so many years.

My husband and I took Miss Gladys for a birthday lunch at the place she selected—Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in Tremè.

At eighty, she dressed in grey slacks and a red leather jacket, always the stylish one, whereas my grandmother used to dress like bag lady, after working for twenty years on New Orleans Police force she lived in constant fear of being mugged. Miss Gladys was the optimist to my grandmother’s constant pessimism.

Linda's iPhone 2 25 13 005

After a lunch of fried chicken, greens, and macaroni and cheese at Dooky Chase, we headed over to Magazine Street to Sucrè for dessert. Rich and decadent sweetness. Afterward, we walked down the street to Fleurty Girl so I could buy some bling and SWAG for my then, upcoming debut novel release.

It was a perfect day!

I know Miss Gladys had a deep abiding faith. I’m happy she’s gone on to streets of gold and angels singing…but I shall miss her dearly.

In general, I don’t believe in coincidence. I do believe that there are lessons to be learned at every turn in life. I’m contemplating that concept while allowing my tears of grief to flow.

Gladys and I Me and Miss Gladys.

It’s summer now, a time for making memories. I hope you’ll make happy ones, like the ones I made on the last day I spent with Miss Gladys.


Linda Joyce


About Linda Joyce

Writing is a curious journey. You don't pick it, it picks you. See my website at www.Linda-Joyce.com to learn more about me.
This entry was posted in Authentic Living, Family, New Orleans, Writer's Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Randomness…or not? Farewell to Miss Gladys

  1. Linda, What a beautiful sentiment. I’m sure Miss Gladys is reading it from somewhere and appreciating your affection and memorial to her. A former co-worker of mine passed away last Friday. Haven’t seen him in years, since he retired, and yet reading his obituary reminded me of some of the great exchanges I had with him while we worked together. Some of his observations continue to influence my own views of government and politics.

    Barbara Barrett

    • Linda Joyce says:


      Thank you for your kind words. There’s so much to her life story that I wanted to know about. I thought that I had time…

      It’s unsettling to read about the passing of someone we know. So glad you have fond memories of your co-worker.



  2. reneeregent says:

    Bitterwsweet. That is the word that comes to mind. What a wonderful tribute.

    • Linda Joyce says:


      My husband took the photo of Miss Gladys and me. For once, I’m glad he caught me unaware. 🙂 I treasure the photo.
      Thank you for leaving a note.



  3. bookpeeps says:

    Lovely post and my sincere condolences for your loss. More importantly, how blessed you were to have connected with this beautiful woman and to have had the opportunity to spend one last glorious day with her before her passing. The love you had for each other exudes in that photo of the two of you walking hand-in-hand.

    • Linda Joyce says:


      Thank you for your support. I didn’t think much of the photo at the time, my husband took it without my knowing. But, I truly treasure it now. We had made plans to visit with Miss Gladys again. She was going to show us around the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Her husbands costume, back when he was King Zulu, hangs in the Mardi Gras museum. My grandmother hated discussing the past–history–and Miss Gladys was the opposite. I am so grateful to have had that one special day with her.



  4. Jackie says:

    What a lovely walk down memory lane. May God’s comforting presence be with Miss Gladys’ family and friends. You are such a dear girl, and I’m honored to be your friend.

  5. This was such a wonderful tribute to Miss Gladys, Linda! I’ve got tears in my eyes. I’m sorry she’s gone but I’m extremely grateful to you for sharing her with us. What a peaceful and beautiful ending to a well-lived life! Blessings and hugs to you and all those she touched! ♥

    • Linda Joyce says:


      Thank you for your kind words. Miss Gladys was so excited to receive the doll I gave her because it had been my grandmother’s. I wish I’d taken a picture of it. She told me a story about when she was a teacher, explaining to city children where milk came from. (There aren’t many cows roaming the streets of New Orleans. 🙂

      Warmest Regards,


  6. pamelavmason says:

    My condolences for your loss. It’s sad losing someone you love. But it sounds like she was ready and had no pain or suffering – she just went to sleep and the Lord called her home. When we get back to NOLA we’ll go eat at Dooky Chase’s and raise a fork (or a glass) in her honor.

  7. What a sweet tribute. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s passing, Linda.

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