She mowed the lawn in high heels!

Joan Copeland in Cubs

Joan Copeland in Cuba

We LOVE interesting people!

Joan Copeland was one of a kind. She was a complete stranger to Views from the Edge before Steve Shoemaker read the unique obituary the led us to post The Foster Child who Succeeded at Fostering.  Family members caught eye of the posting and sent comments worth sharing.  The bolded print is added for those who don’t read entire blog posts! -:)

First family comment: I’m her granddaughter…. She was amazing… Growing up she kept me smiling and giggling…she was a free soul… Cubans and Martinis…when I would stay the night she used to pour me ginger ale in a fancy glass cup so we could have woman time lol she never let her past define her…And her family was her life…Sophie her cat lol…meanest thang ever…but she loved her….I’m glad you all enjoyed reading the smallest excerpt of her life…if only you knew the stories of Cuba…her first tattoo at age 75….her passion for dancing…how dolled up she loved to get…my granny was a true diva…an amazing woman….inside and out…- Seylon

Views from the Edge replies: Seylon, WHAT AN UNEXPECTED TREAT to hear from you. I never know who reads the blog, so to hear from you means a lot. Please say more about the Cuban references. Was she Cuban? Had she spent time in Cuba? Smoked Cuban cigars, drank Cuban rum?

At the helm on suitor's boat on the way to Cuba..

At the helm on suitor’s boat on the way to Cuba..

Seylon responds: I googled her name just to see if old real estate photos would pop up and stumbled across your blog. I called my mom she thought it was pretty cool. My grandma was Romanian….but she loved Cuba…she traveled there twice on a friend’s sailboat….I believe ’92 was either her first trip or second…I told her if they ever dropped the embargo and allow all the US citizens not being able to travel there I would take her there on vacation again. 🙂 I wish I could post pictures for you. I have plenty of them from when she was there. [NOTE: the photos on this page were sent later.]

She used to talk about the dolphins that would swim along the sailboat. Her first tattoo the family took her to get was of Dolphins and the word Cuba 🙂 She was 75. She would talk about how she brought a roll of shiny new pennies to give out to the kids there because she knew the country was poor and she thought it would be a cool gift to them. I guess a little boy she had met was not thrilled with the pennies…she used to say he expected more money then her little pennies.

Joan Coleman cigar

Joan Copeland smoking Cuban something or other

But she also loved cigars and used to smoke them. I am in the military and tried getting her cigars made from every place I’ve been…my last trip I got her a while box of Cubans…I told her we could crack the box open once I had my baby. She laughed, she said she didn’t even know if she could smoke one anymore. She mostly collected the boxes…. she collected a lot of stuff… antiques, paintings, everything 🙂 It’s crazy that her obituary got all the way to Minnesota. It’s pretty neat how someone who means so much to you can be a small part of a stranger’s life.

Another granddaugher responds: Hi, I am her oldest granddaughter, Summer. My gran would have loved this!! My gran never left her house without looking like a movie star from her big up-do to her fur coats. She went to the top of a mountain on a dirt bike and mowed the yard in heals. Always had a cocktail and ready for some fun. We always had a project to do together from making jewelry, beading necklaces, sorting jewelry or gemstones. We even made picture frames with jewelry. My mom and I took her to get her tattoo. All three of us got one that day. Three generations getting a tattoo coolest thing ever.

Great grandma singing "Itsy bits spider" to Seylon's newborn child.

Great grandma singing “Itsy bits spider” to Seylon’s newborn child.

She loved her family more than anything else. She wrote notes on everything she ever gave me. She made a tote box for all her grandkids and when I opened mine it has every Christmas card, valentine , letter, picture I drew and my baby clothes. She kept everything I ever gave her my whole life was in this box. She treasured me as much as I did her. Thank you for taking the time to write about my amazing grandma.

Joan’s oldest daughter comments: Hi Gordon. This is Joan’s oldest daughter, Rebecca. My niece, Seylon, called her mother from Germany this afternoon just as my sis and I were sorting thru “the goods.” (There’s a packed house.) I cried as she read your column to us. I’ll have you know that I went all out when writing the obituary because my mother did not want a funeral. She said, “I don’t want a bunch of people strolling by my dead body pretending that they liked me. I know who my friends are.” To be led to your column was an amazing stroke of synchronicity, and I’m sure my mother would think you did right by her. My mother was not Cuban. Her father was a Romanian immigrant who came here as a child. Her mother was from Illinois, and we don’t know much more because the family split up when Joan was young.

Joan Copeland on suitor's yacht sailing illegally to Cuba.

Joan Copeland on suitor’s yacht sailing illegally to Cuba.

Her sailing trips to Cuba were with one of the prospects she finally told to go away. She was in her mid-60’s at the time, and wouldn’t hesitate to smoke a good cigar w/ you.

Here’s just one more little tidbit I thought you might like. My mother enjoyed her martinis and for years she collected antique pewter. At my sister’s suggestion, we had her ashes put into a pewter cocktail shaker from her collection. When Seylon gets to come home on leave in July, we will scatter Joan’s ashes over her mother’s grave as per her wishes. – Rebecca.

I wish we were all that interesting!

8 thoughts on “She mowed the lawn in high heels!

  1. Yes, Joan was all those things, and MORE~ Never met a stranger, LOVED to laugh!!! I loved hangin out with this lady! Soooo eclectic, and well read…Her home was a treasure chest FULL of beautiful things, fond memories, and LOVE! I got to hang out with her at her home about a year ago, oh she had me in stitches!! Even though I had been to her home many times, she gave me the FULL tour this last visit! What an ARTIST!!!! This Lady had soooo many projects, and such an eye for beauty, and sooo very beautiful herself!! I will forever miss you Joan~ RIH


    • Ed, every time I hear from someone else I don’t know re: Joan, I become more curious. Are you her age? One of the marriage proposers? Friend of Seylon, Summor, or Rebecca? Tell me more, if you feel free. This lad is someone I would have loved to be around. I have a new vodka I’d love to share with her, Grays Peak (Meyers lemon flavored). I know she loved Martinis. Did she also like lemons?


      • Gordon Ed is my mom Cynthia’s oldest best friend. I grew up calling him Uncle Eddie 🙂 My granny’s proposers are loong gone…they were mostly years older then her. Lol one actually passed away and left her his car and his ex wife’s engagement diamond and a few other things lol…she actually still had that car. she didn’t want to get rid of it due to being sentimental. Ed is talking about all my grandmas antiques and artwork…her house is full of great treasures as he said lol it’s so full my mom and Rebecca don’t know where to start. I can’t quite remember how she had her martini but I knew there were olives involved not lemons and something else but I cant recall the name of it… Like I said we could go on hours and write chapter upon chapters on the lady in heels 🙂


        • Glad to learn the identity of Ed, the name of your Mom, and all the other information about your Granny and her proposers. My guess is that an “Estate Sale” through an approved agent might be the best way to take care of “the goods”. When my Mother died, my two brothers and I sat in her apartment and took turns taking things we’d like to have. Gordon, Don, Bob. Gordon, Don, Bob. Repeat until we were done. The rest we put up for auction or gave to charity. The understanding among the three brothers was that the monetary value mattered little. It was the sentimental value that mattered – the visible reminders of Mom and Dad’s love. I hope your folks find a way to do something similar, and that some of Joan’s things (like the cigar boxes) are given to you and the other grandchildren.


  2. Simply Amazing. Mr. Stewart, You dont even know how much this means to my family and I. We all could go on days with memories on our granny. She was in one word AMAZING. Thanks for everything. 🙂


    • Seylon, the words are all yours. I just reprinted them and used your photos of her. Quiet a sailor! Raquel Welch appeared on the cover of the July/Aug 2001 editon of Cigar Aficionado magazine smoking a cigar…. -:) but I’ll be Raquel never mowed the lawn in high heels!


      • Ok so hello there, I am Cindi the younger daughter. I am so thrilled to see all the love shared about Mom. She was indeed quite the character. Mean as a snake sometimes too so don’t let anybody fool you. She had a 6th sense that she passed down to a few of us that is an amazing gift. She’s most definitely still influencing us. So many memories, so much fun! The family are going to have a “Granny Hootenanny” in July and send her off with bells from her kingdom and a damn good time ! Good Evening.


        • Well, hello there back, Cindi,

          So glad you came by and liked the posts. I’ve had the impression your Mom was nobody’s fool, which likely meant she knew how to be mean when she needed to be. Best of luck with the Granny Hootenanny in July! All the best to you and all the family. Save the lawnmower and a pair of high heels for yourself.


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