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the man behind the blog
A couple of months ago I got to musing about how the rest of us out here in blogland would know if something happened to one of our favs. The universe decided that it was time for an answer to my cosmic wondering. Cg and I found each other through our state blogging group, The Rocky Top Brigade . Since we were two of the few West Tennessee bloggers in the group, a special kind of bond developed. In his last post in late October, he shared with us that he had been diagnosed with cancer. I kept returning to his blog to check for updates on his treatment and the status of his health. When I checked in at the RTB site in mid-December, I found the sad news that CG had died a few days after that last post. An address was given to contact his widow, and I did. We corresponded by e-mail for several weeks as she struggled to pull together something to honor the man who was her husband, the author of the blog known as "Mama Said There'd be Days Like This". Another RTB blogger, Juliepatchouli also contacted Mrs. Cg to offer her condolences and a friendship was born there as well. The Mrs. did not have access to CG's log-in information so she could not tell the world about her dear husband on his own site. I offered to post it here, and below you see her tribute in its' entirety.


The Man Behind the Blog

Cg – Mother Said There’d Be Days Like This

Charles Grace June 12, 1949 - November 3, 2005

Since there are several of you that regularly read Mama Said…, I thought you might like to know a little about the man behind the blog.

His name was Charles Grace. He was a native Memphian; lived here all his life except for a year and a half while he was in grad school at AU in Atlanta. He was a 5th grade teacher for thirty years. That’s a lot of years to “warp little minds” as Cg would always say. He loved teaching and thirty years worth of 5th graders loved him. Charles was very soft spoken; he never yelled at his students, he just looked at them with THAT look that just made them want to disappear into the woodwork. It worked on our kids, too.

When Charles and I married (in 1984), he wound up with a 13 year old boy and a 16 year old girl (AKA the son and the daughter). From almost the beginning, the daughter (Heather) called him Papa Bear. When he asked her why she called him that she replied,”What else would you call someone big and brown and fuzzy?” (He had lots of hair back then.). Through all the trials of raising teenagers, he loved “his” kids. Even the son (Philip) when he wrecked Charles’ 79 TransAm…gold…with a chicken on the hood. I guess the fact that both the son and the daughter had the courage to marry into ready-made families says a lot about the job Charles did as a role model.

Another side of Charles’ life that I’m not sure he wrote about was the theatre life we had. Although we met while we were both working at Collierville Elementary School, my real job was as a working musician (string bass and keyboards). During a show I was doing early in our life together, Charles just stood around backstage shifting from one foot to the other, kinda like most men when they’ve been dragged to a ladies’ store. I told the director to paleeeeze give him something to do! He taught Charles how to run a soundboard and with that, another theatre rat was born. Charles used to say you could tell when he was having a bad school year by the number of shows he did. He wasn’t satisfied just to run someone else’s sound design, he learned how to do his own designs and became a much sought after designer in Memphis community theatre. Before he retired from theatre he not only did sound designs, but stage managed, ran props, was a dresser and even did makeup. Never could get him onstage. Oh, and did I mention this was all on a volunteer basis?

The last few years, Charles worked extensively in the South Memphis community with neighborhood associations. Members of the Memphis City Council and other city officials referred to him as a Community Activist. After completing the nine-week Citizens Police Academy, he became an Ambassador to the Southeast Precinct.

During 2005, the highlight of Charles’ week was the time he spent coaching a Destination Imagination team from Campus School. He took over a team last January and took “his girls” to regional finals. They worked so hard for him.

This gentle man will be sorely missed by the teaching community, the theatre community, the neighborhood community and his DI kids. The loss for his family and friends is unspeakable. Charles marched to his own drum and true to form, he didn’t want a “traditional” funeral. He wanted to be cremated and then to have one hell of a party at the P & H. And party we did!

So, the next time you hear a Jimmy Buffett tune, raise a glass to Charles.

cg and fg

Keep the faith Frankie. ^j^
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