Cindy picked up yesterday's Quad City Times and was perusing the stories when she suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, God. Jane died." Yes, our eccentric, religious and half-crazy former neighbor who used to drive us completely nuts and who was somewhat of a nut herself died at the nursing home she'd been living in since moving there about two and a half years ago. She was 89. You can read her obituary here.
Cindy was amazed at the amount of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren Jane had. "And I only saw one grandchild ever come to see her," Cindy said. Cindy often felt sorry for Jane, even though Jane used to drive Cindy nuts by pulling plants out of our garden that she thought were weeds, or broke off the branches of bushes on our berm because she thought they were weeds.
Jane was a highly religious person and if there is a Heaven she's probably there. She was an "Old Testament, Fire and Brimstone" kind of person and she used to pontificate on her religious beliefs so much that it got sort of scary at times. She didn't trust any Catholics, even though there's tons of Catholic families up and down our street. Jane did tell us one time, "There's some good Catholics around here. But once the Catholic Church takes over the government, they're going to kill all the heretics. And I'll be first because I'm the biggest heretic there is."
Jane had some pretty peculiar ideas on life, in general. We knew she meant well, but her mind was cloudy and her reasoning wasn't always plain. Given that we shared a backyard, we pretty much had to put up with her and her incoherent ramblings on a daily basis. But she really had no business living by herself. And her family finally realized that three years ago and got her to a nursing home. It was like a relief for us because we knew A) it was the best thing for her; and B) she wouldn't be bothering us when we were trying to have a relaxing evening on the deck.
Jane was a child of the Depression and was a very frugal person. I once heard that her family did have money from farming in SE Iowa. But Jane always denied that she or her family had any money. She told me once, "The church is trying to get more money out of me. I don't know why they think I have money. My father was a farmer in the Depression. We lost everything and never got it back."
Of course, she never explained that her father was a successful farmer after the Depression as I was told by her son, one time.
I've told many stories in Road Tips about Jane and some of the stunts she used to pull. You can read them all in the Tales of Jane category. By the way, that category continues to be one of the most popular on the Road Tips site, even though I haven't written about Jane for quite some time.
The people in our neighborhood who used to have to deal with Jane all used to say that she'd probably outlive us all. She damned near did with some of the neighbors dying earlier this year. Like I always said about Jane, she used to drive me crazy, but she was good entertainment.