Driving Miss Liz “home” one last time

August 17, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

shelter and loved by them in a very, very fucked up family situation in 1970. They raised me as their own, even though I was their best friends’ grandson. My mom lost her youngest child to a freak drowning in the summer of 1969. And as I’ve pointed out, I was a “replacement” child and a very spoiled youngster. I wrote at length about my family in my 2nd book for Free The Birds in 2006.

You can read about my Pop here.

You probably know my Mom because of our Saturday morning car rides for breakfast at the IHOP on Merritt Blvd. The social media tradition began when I moved downtown so that she would always know that she could see us and catch us up on her life outside of watching the Orioles and Ravens. My wife laughs every time we think about telling her: “Liz, lean in!” She would always lean to the left and say “Cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeese!”

Sometimes, she brought some ham with that cheese. And she made us roll…

Over the last decade, she had some weeks that were more talkative than others and we started rolling video on her so we could hear her sometimes hilarious – and sometime poignant – views on the world and what she’d seen on her journey. When she was born, women couldn’t vote. My son Barry and his wife Aubrie have lived with the grandmom they call “Geezy” the past six years. They also shoot a bunch of video of her. We have never watched ours – or theirs! I think we wanted them for times like these when we’ll never have another breakfast with her. We’ve watched a few this week and smiled a little and cried a little.

As a member of our “extended” family, your gift will be whenever I share them in the coming years as I unearth them when I miss her the most.

In many ways, she was a very simple woman who didn’t have lofty goals beyond cooking, cleaning, eating, gossiping and taking care of her family. She was reverent of her sister and family – all with links to her childhood in South Carolina. In the 1970s, we would annually drive or catch a Greyhound or Trailways bus to the backwoods of the former Confederacy for a summer of lightning bugs and Southern culture.

You may have heard me bragging on my Aunt Edna’s divine fudge or my Aunt Earline’s perfectly seasoned fried chicken over 25 years on the radio. My Aunt Eleanor watched me throw a rubber ball against her wall all day, every day emulating Nolan Ryan until she decided to get us a cabin at Hickory Knob State Park because a boy my age was supposed to have fun at a camp during a summer. I had my first “Meatballs” crush on a girl with an orange Clemson paw on her cheek from Greenville that summer of 1979. My Pop shot hoops with me at the Abbeville Civic Center. Edna was my favorite because she loved professional wrestling. She took me to Greenwood Stadium to see N.W.A. wrestling legends like Ricky Steamboat and Tony Atlas compete in a ring on the infield where her beloved Atlanta Braves had a Class A team.

Mom would always say we’re going “home” for the summer. And “home” for her was Abbeville, South Carolina. That would mean going through the peach orchards there with