336. The Girl With The Camera

Okay – get ready to be reminded yet again:  to VOTE TODAY AND EVERY DAY TILL AUGUST 11th for my “Grandmother Dearest” essay.  You know the drill: Just click HERE.  Think how accomplished you’ll feel!

Today is the 20th birthday of my irrepressible granddaughter, Josie Frances Warden. 

Following on the heels of her cousin Bryce, Josie is honing her photography skills and is doing some classy work.You can see a some of it on her website. She recently got her first payment for a professional assignment.

 

The only way I could describe the rest of Josie is by writing a book, which I don’t exactly have time for today because of a looming video deadline.  Her sister Little Gretchen (Warden) Stark stepped in to save the day.

What she wrote about Josie appears below.  If you really stretch your imagination, you may get the idea that Gretchen is kind of fond of her.  Just a bit. 

Dear Grandma:

I love Josie so much! She is one of my very best friends so I have lots of fun stories about her and how loving, thoughtful, generous, talented, honest, genuine, creative and smart she is, but I think there is one quality that people might not expect about her and that is that she is also absolutely hilarious!

Here are some funny stories about Josie and how her fabulous sense of humor has evolved through the years:

During her younger years:

The Sneaky Peeky Penguin – Josie had a pen shaped like a penguin when she was younger and she named it the “Sneaker Peeker”. Because Josie is so creative, rather than use this pen the way most of would (to write with) she decided to put it in the freezer. She saw a totally different use for this pen that had nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with another fun game related to the name “Sneaker Peeker”. When no one was looking Josie would quietly retrieve the pen from the freezer and casually drop it down the back of an unsuspecting, surprised, and suddenly cold person’s shirt or in their lap and inform them it was the “Sneak Peeky Penguin” while laughing quite hard.

Talk ‘Em Guys – Josie had collections of toy animals, dolls, dinosaurs, rocks, beads, shells, all types of collections when she was younger. She also had, and still has today, excellent communication and social skills. When you put these two qualities together, you get the game she entitled “talk ’em guys” where you do just that, take an animal, doll, stuffed animal, rock, shell, or any other object that was close by to engage in conversations usually starting with “Hi!” “What’s your name?” If you ever asked Josie what she wanted to do when she was younger, the majority of the time you would get the enthusiastic answer “let’s talk ’em guys!”

Taping things to Grandma – Josie and T.T. started a game when they were younger involving taping things to Grandma Ford. I am not sure how it all started but I will never forget the day Grandma was walking around the house with pieces of tape with labels on the back,they were also taping change to her coat, putting coins in her hood, and the three of them were chasing each other around the house. I think Grandma, Josie, or T.T. could provide more details about how this game originated and what exactly the rules were, but either way it looked like the three of them were having a great time and laughing non-stop.

In Recent Years:

The Ceramic Pig – Josie collects and displays statues, photos, and memorabilia in her room including owls, birds, pink foam skulls, music posters, and a ceramic pig that showed up one day I’m not sure where from. For some reason this pig stood out to us and we titled it the “Ceramic Pig.” She began a game of hiding the pig around the house years ago, usually in my room or somewhere I would be sure to find it through the course of the day, which began a back and forth game of hiding the pig to surprise one another. We have hid it in the bathroom, the refrigerator, under the other person’s covers, etc… This has escalated into a game that has been going on for years now. Joe and I took the opportunity to smuggle the pig into the Suburban my parents and Josie were taking on a camping vacation before they left the driveway. On the long ride to their first destination, Josie found the pig and took photos of it everywhere they went on their vacation. Since then this pig has attended many major family events including birthdays and weddings, vacations, slumber parties. So in the future if you see one of us you can be sure that the “Ceramic Pig” is probably close by. We have also extended this game to include a battery-operated dancing and singing penguin we named “Slappy” that Joe and I bought her for Christmas. “Slappy” is slowly catching up with the “Ceramic Pig” in his travels, you never know where he might show up.

Names – Josie loves animals, particularly her dog Sarge. She loves him so much she gave him a great name, and then another, and another, and another. Sarge is the dog with over 100 names. He started out with his official name “Sargeant Sunday”. Then he got some nicknames including Sarge and Sargie, which are pretty standard garden variety nicknames. However, over the years whether depending on Josie’s mood on a particular day or what Sarge reminded her of that day, this list of names has grown to include: Sargie Cedars, Sargeant, Sargie-Loo, Loo, Lewis, Beans, Beansy, Sargie Mohawkerson, Sargeant Sonntag, C-Chunk, Butters, Mr. Butters, Sargie-C, Sargie Seb, and the list goes on. Her talent for giving dogs funny names does not end there, she also has given all of the dogs in our family multiple names. People may not know that Susy’s dog Rodeo also goes by Rodey, Ro-Chunk, Tanker, Ro-Fat, Ro-Fatty, Roadster, Rodey Reester, and many more. Molly, Curt’s cocker spaniel, also goes by Mo-Chunk, Mobey Meester, Mobey, Mo Mo, Moll, Mollers, Mollerain, and Mobles. I have no idea how she comes up with all of these funny names, but if asked I’m sure she will have a great explanation for every single one that is guaranteed to make you smile.

Photography – Josie is an excellent and extremely talented photographer. I am sure she is going to do amazing things with this talent in the future. The only part about this talent that concerns me is the amount of embarrassing photos she has compiled of me doing unflattering and otherwise awkward things including dyeing my hair, washing my hair in the sink, eating, not wearing any makeup, making strange faces, photoshopping me into photos with celebrities I don’t care for, etc… Every now and then she will text one of these photos to me just so I know she has them and of course to make me laugh uncontrollably. What she doesn’t know is that I may not have her talent in photography, but I have started a collection of photos of her as well…

While Josie has too many amazing qualities to list in this email, I think one particular special gift she possesses is her sense of humor. She has such a happy and positive influence on any crowd that people gravitate toward her, and when they get to know her well they are in for a fabulous and perhaps unexpected treat in the form of lots of laughter! It is such a gift to have Josie as a sister and I am thankful for her everyday, she is a rare, unique, and unwaveringly authentic person that can make you laugh until you cry!

These were the first stories that came to my mind when thinking about Josie.

Love,

Gretchen

So there you got caught up on a little about what Josie is up to.  Except for when she’s eating cake.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOSIE.  And many More!

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5 Responses to 336. The Girl With The Camera

  1. Gretchen Covey says:

    Happy Birthday Josie!

    Thank you mom and Gretchen for this wonderful tribute and great pictures! Josie is a blessing to us all! I treasure the hours that she played with TT over the years when Susy worked at Ford Video. Thank you God for this tremendous person!

  2. Octo-woman says:

    Loved this birthday blog. Josie is so funny and creative and talented. And my dog’s name is really NOT Ro-chunk! You know he’s on a diet and he is very sensitive about his growing waistline. Love you! Mother

  3. Gail Trevathan says:

    Hey Josie, Happy Birthday. Watching you grow up into the very special young lady that you are has been so much fun and has brought us such joy. We have had some interesting conversations lately which have given us even more insight as to just what a talented and caring person you are. We love you very much.
    Gail and Tom

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I loved this essay that Gretchen wrote! It made me laugh and cry! I wrote the message below before I read this post. I love how Gretchy highlighted Josie’s sense of humor! She is right on–Josie is hilarious! Here are a few more thoughts I had about Josie:

    Josie has always been such a sweet and special person. When she was little, she was very shy. She didn’t want to talk to or even look at strangers. But after you got to know her, you were in for a treat! Josie was (and still is) such a creative, funny, and fun person to be with! She might sometimes seem quiet on the outside, but there is a lot of amazing stuff going on under the surface.

    One of Josie’s favorite activities when she was little was what she called “talking ’em guys”. She would bring over a couple of plastic toys and hold one out to you and say “talk ’em?” in an adorable voice. She was extremely cute, by the way, and looked like a beautiful little angel with her curly blond hair, so it was hard to say no, even though that game could drive me a little nuts because Josie had a very strict script for the types of conversations the characters could have. You and Josie would each get a plastic toy or two and would then carry on a conversation between them. The conversation usually meant introducing themselves, then introducing other friends, and then sometimes walking to another location. Eventually, Josie started getting creative with the types of objects that she wanted to talk. If we were at the beach, we might end up talking ’em shells. Or we might talk rocks, spoons, and other strange objects. Sometimes I tried to introduce a bit of drama and conflict into the story but was interrupted with a loud NO from Josie and was put back on the friendly track that she wanted the story to follow. 🙂

    I also enjoyed giving Josie what she called “shower baths” when she was little. We would turn on the shower but plug the tub so that it would fill up the bath and turn into a bath when it got full enough. Then Josie would line up loads of small plastic characters, mostly Pokemon, two by two, for a contest. I would have to choose my favorite out of each pair. The loser would get knocked back into the tub, while the winners were set aside for future rounds.

    I also have special memories of singing Josie to sleep or telling her stories until she fell asleep. She tended to pick a single favorite song or story and request that one over and over and over and over… I am pretty sure I must have sung We Three Kings thousands of times, and I know that’s true for a bunch of other members of our family, too! Sometimes in the middle of summer! On rare occasions, it might be possible to convince her to accept Kumbaya as a substitute. It was fun to stay with her and hold her hand or hook pinkies until she fell asleep. One night, I was a little sick of singing the same song over and over, so I made up a story about her taking a trip to the north pole with a bunch of friendly animals, and from that night on, she requested that story over and over again and corrected me if I left any part out! (It was a long story, so bedtime took a very long time on those nights!)

    I think having siblings that are so much older (I’m 12 years older, Gretchen is 10 years older, and Neil is 8 years older) meant that Josie had more grown up interests than many people her age. Her taste in music for example was definitely different from most kids her age. It’s funny that in many ways Josie was so mature, yet for a very long time she looked much younger than her age. She was always much smaller than other kids her age.

    Josie was big into giving gifts when she was little. Whether you had known her for an hour or for years, Josie always wanted to give you something special of hers. She was (and still is) a very generous and thoughtful person. I think it’s really cool that you could see that part of her personality so early in her life.

    Now that Josie is 20, she is even more of a joy and pleasure to spend time with as when she was a tiny adorable little girl. She is such a beautiful person inside and out. She is talented at photography, drawing, poetry, and so much more. She is not shy anymore–she has become much more confident. She is thoughtful, wise, patient, and approaches life with a positive attitude. I am very lucky to have Josie as my sister!

  5. A relative says:

    Elizabeth, your comments made me laugh and cry too. I forgot all about having to sing the exact song over and over again and hooking pinky’s till she drifted off to sleep. She was such a funny little kid ….. always wanted to watch the same movie over and over again, hear the same book over and over again and let’s not talk about her hairstyles! I mean she wore that side ponytail for a few years before switching to months and months of french braids. Thanks for sharing more memories for Josie’s birthday! She is a wonderful daughter with two terrific sisters and a special brother too.

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