On July 9th 2019 Gloria Simmons passed away, she was 93. She was my great grandmother and we called her “Nana”. I always knew she has accomplished in many things and very successful. She earned her Master’s in Social work from Howard University. She supported her Alma Matter, where you will find a brick in the Pathfinder Section of Founders Walk. She was personally invited by the 42nd President William Jeffery Clinton, to attend and participate in the inauguration in 1997. She was recognized and honored for her 20 years of service in the US Government Department of Health and Human Services.
What I didn’t know (and actually really surprised me) was that she was a member of the Red Hat Society. The Red Hat Society (www.redhatsociety.com), describes itself as “a playgroup for women created to connect like-minded women, make new friends and enrich lives through the power of fun and friendship”. They started with two chapters in 1999 and are over 40,000 now worldwide. What doesn’t surprise me was Nana was fun, loved people and I bet rocked that red hat. They wear red hats and dress in purple every time they get together. In order to be a member you have to be over the age of 50 years old, Nana was a member since 2008. Sometimes you think you know all about someone but surprise! One of her fellow Red Hat Ladies spoke at the funeral, it was pretty cool to hear about a part of her life that I didn’t know at all.
My Nana was the sweetest old woman, she was sassy and always had the coolest outfits. That’s my favorite memory of her. Something special we shared, was when we discussed what jewelry she had on because it was always something fun, stylish and often had a reason. After she passed my grandmother (her daughter) and I went through her jewelry box to find necklaces and earrings for my Nana to wear at her funeral. She would not have been pleased if she didn’t have the right accessories on! As we went through her jewelry box seeing many of her brooches and earrings brought me back to many of our conversations. She had Santa Claus earrings for Christmas, a spider broach with a matching bracelet of course for Halloween and many other holiday trinkets in the fashion of jewelry. She had the cutest jewelry pieces and it made me so happy to see them all. My grandmother let me have a few pieces which I will cherish them forever. I know my Nana will continue to watch over me, guide me and smile down on me from heaven. And I bet she is wearing her red hat with the right jewelry for the occasion.
#BRAVO! to my Nana’s life well lived! Don’t wait till your 50 go live a Red Hat Lady life now!!!!