Overnight, my mother, Stella Ruth Schwall Anderson, passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. Stella loved nature from the mighty mountains of the Alps and Rockies to ever wildflower, rock and seed pod she ever found. She loved places where you could walk looking in shop windows and sit and have dinner at a cafe on the sidewalk.
She was born in 1926, during Prohibition and the Great Depression and lived through the Great Recession. She ate beans & rice and eggs &.grits in her family’s small homemade cracker home in the swamp near Mill Pond in Gainesville, FL, with eleven older siblings and a father who was a master carpenter building some of the University of Florida’s oldest buildings like the first Student Union and Fletcher Hall.
She was the last living sibling from another era and was the sister-in-law of famous Gainesville resident Louis Penisi, who lived to 101, proprietor of Louis` Lunch.
She is a reminder that we want our cities walkable, with wide sidewalks, flowers and trees, cafes, shops and parks, all within walking distance of our home. Mom rarely had that living in the years of suburban sprawl, but she appreciated it… in Europe, or the rare times it happens in America.