My momma was an interesting soul… full of life and humor and wit. Her love of the arts and fine music sustained a creative spirit for 94 years. Looking around her home and mine I see her creative touches everywhere…in paint and fabric, surrounded by the books she loved so well. The classical music that reverberated throughout the house was the soundtrack for her life.
Over the years I learned a great deal about her life listening to her stories. (I remember the one where Salvadore Dali tried to pick her up on a street in New York City.) I learned about art and music and food. My first cooking lessons came from a series of Time-Life cookbooks she bought me when I was 10, which I still posses. She taught me to love books. When I was 12 she bought me a lead solider kit, lit the fire under the lead pot and left me to it. She made me fearless.
Momma had a zillion jobs throughout her life. But her museum work she loved the most. Stints at MOSH (when it was still the Children’s Museum), The Cummer and even the Lemoyne Gallery in Tallahassee. But she loved them all and gathered a fan club along the way.
Everyone who met momma was enamored with her style… her gigantic bead necklaces, her exotic belts and eclectic taste. But she made it her own and somehow it worked.
In later years she married Frank, whom we all fell in love with. His movie star good looks and ready smile brought my small family great joy, and much love to my momma’s life.
Her life was interesting and not all of us can make that claim and she was able to live on her own terms till the end. She will be buried next to her beloved Frank, under a spreading oak in the shade… much like her home in recent years.
I will miss her conversations and her insight and the world will be a poorer place without her.
Send no flowers, but rather raise a toast to her life. She would like that.
She is survived by her daughter Melissa and loving son-in-law Randy Madison.
Isabel was one of those people you don’t forget…a poise, a presence, a distinction and style that harken back to an earlier time. She represented a point of view and set of life experiences that we are less for having lost.