Skip to main content

boots, aka olena pearl bonnett

it just doesn't get any classier that this... to me.

meet grandma Boots. Nicknamed thus because she used to wear red rain boots as a child. For a long time I just assumed her nick name was given because she rode around on a Harley with the tough guys. But guess not. It's an easy mistake. While grandma was elegant, and had fabulous jewelry and never wore short sleeves, she cursed like a sailer. She smoked pall malls, unfiltered, and rode around in a very long gold Cadillac. Besides my mom, there was not a woman who could hold a candle to her. No actress; Greta, Myrna, Marlene, Kathrine or Gloria... could out shine, inspire, or give me the kind of strength it would take to grow up and become a strong, independent, no-bullshit woman, that I hope I've become.

She was one of 12 kids! Born and raised in West Virginia. She was a fiery woman, with a hot temper, and a strong eyebrow arch. She fell for some guy when she was 18, and got knocked up with my mother. Great grandpa didn't like that much and took her back home. She eventually met, my grandpa, Charles, and had a son. The whole family, then traveled around the country working, and ended up up in Washington. But by the time I came around, she had settled nicely with grandpa up in Northern California.

It's surprising I don't have more of a potty mouth. I still remember sitting on the floor with a coloring book, while grandma and mom talked of all things, uncensored. Son of a Bitch, was probably her favorite expression.

after she died, my mom ended up with a bunch of her clothes. And she hung them in the guest bedroom closet. I used to go into and close the doors and close my eyes, and just smell grandma. A mix of opium and cigarettes. It would bring her close to me again. a gentle memory, making me hope she was always still with me.