Jean Louise (Ericson) Marques AKA: Mom, Grammie 1928 -2021!
The year was 1928 and the world was between wars but economies were in terrible shape when Carl Frederick Ericson and Eva (Johnson) Ericson brought the lovely Jean Louise Ericson home for her new earthly adventure. Jean Louise had been preceded by two other daughters; Evelyn and Ruth(ie). Soon, a fourth would arrive; Edith. A family full of daughters. If you listen closely you can almost still hear Fred’s voice … “seriously, four of them, no boys?”
The growing family moved to Milton, MA where the perfect home-on-a-hill provided the roof over their heads, local schooling and a launching point for Fred’s daily trip to Boston where his growing printing press repair business was located. Eva provided the “warmth” in the home while the girls kept the family in noise and busyness. All of the ladies were encouraged to learn an instrument so Jean Louise took up piano and added a beautiful voice to her music, at one time even recording a record to present to her father.
All of the girls made it through school with some leaving for parts unknown and others to further schooling, Jean took a job in Boston as a secretary. While working there and traveling back and forth with a friend she was encouraged to write to a fellow in the Navy in the South Pacific near the end of World War II. Totally out of character for Miss Ericson she decided that might be nice and sent off one letter to someone she had never met. A letter returned to her from the sailor. More letters traveled across the world. And then even more. (Yes, we have them all.)
One can only imagine the excitement Jean Louise Ericson must have felt when Richard (Dick) Dobson Marques was finally standing in front of her… he was as handsome as his photo in uniform and she was as beautiful as he had imagined from the photo she had sent. Bingo! Then it was time for the introduction to her father, Fred. Not so easy with his high expectations for all of his girls. But, in fact, Fred liked Dick. Dick was good-to-go so they married. Easy as that with the long white dress and everything.
Making a home for themselves they moved to Quincy where they produced their first son, Peter. Now they were really committed, or should have been, so they delivered a second son, David, a couple of years later. “This is easy” they probably thought so Dick took a job at the Patriot Ledger and Jean took on the responsibility of keeping the new kids alive on a daily basis. Then, it happened, another kid was brought home. “Why?” David and Peter must have asked but this time it was a girl, Linda. Officially a full-on nuclear family with all of a family’s responsibilities and all of the things families did in the fifties and sixties.
Listing them would take forever so let’s fast forward and just say that Jean embraced motherhood and they provided everything they could afford for their family including long days spent on hot beaches and trips “down the cape” where Eva and Fred had built a summer home. Jean was not a huge boating fan but she was always a “trooper” and sat in small boats, filling them with fish, and in smaller boats in bigger seas. It was probably one of those adventures that limited Jean’s enthusiasm for boating and joining Dick on his boating overnights although she did continue to relish the lobsters provided from his traps. He was always quick to call her the “body snatcher” while she scoured the inner cavities of a lobster looking for the colored substance the rest of us avoided.
Trips to Florida with the family, trips to Florida to visit sister Ruthie, Jean was a traveler when she had to be. Jean (now Grammie) even commenced rides north to Conway, NH to visit new grandchildren after Peter added Deborah to the family early in the ‘80s and the two of them produced Christopher and Nathan. Linda had met Peter Kelley, who she married and produced two more grandsons, Michael and Jason. (If Jean’s dad had still been alive he would have been smiling at all of these sons.) Then David met and married Kate and, right, another grandkid but this time a girl, Kalli. The three of them live in Hadley and travel to Hingham where they have spent every Christmas morning with Grammie and Grandpa since.
Visits to Grammie’s meant all rules were off. During the summer months she would start each day with tiny boxes of sugared cereal and then make all of the yummy sandwiches that each grandkid liked. Tonic, chips and of course chocolate chip cookies were always available. Grammie was actually known for her exotic concoction of lunch beverages, most likely not legal today and certainly more colorful than anything you could locate in a store. Eating at the beach was the routine but while we were there we would swim, search for horseshoe crabs and sit on Grandpa’s boat. She loved to sit on the boat and swim off of the boat and play cards on the boat and watch the fireworks from the boat. She’d even take a ride on the boat wherever Grandpa wanted to go… as long as it wasn’t too fast… or too rough. She would sit in the stern with her glasses and her smile and her hair blowing in the breeze.
Grammie loved her birds. She had gardens with backyard birds and front yard birds. All kinds of birds frequented her feeders. She loved them all. It’s the Cardinals Grammie liked the most, they were bright and visible and rare. She noticed every one and added their likeness to paintings and decor. Grammie appreciated every critter that took the path to walk through her yard, not even complaining about the plants that no longer had blossoms because the deer had eaten them for brunch. Except for the squirrels, she was not a fan of the grey squirrels. She pretended they were a problem but it’s safe to presume she knew they needed food too and probably had a name for each and every one of them.
Grammie was a lot of things to a lot of people. She taught some of us how to sew which provided a great start to a lifelong business. She made clothes for us that we might or might not want to wear. She taught some of us how to knit after years of knitting her own projects. She was a painter, taking classes and painting pumpkins and grandkids’ stools. She was a prolific quilter. She quilted all over the place and for so many reasons. She quilted for every member of the family and then quilted to give away to newborns she would never know. She would piece projects together in the summer knowing how those same quilts would cover her legs and keep her warm in the winter while she hand sewed the final work watching tv next to Dick, in front of the living room fire. Her gifting of baby quilts had grown from her thankfulness to the hospital when Jason was born. She was always a person who took the time to appreciate everyone and everything. Jean was a wonderful neighbor that watched as her neighborhood went from lots of kids to no kids to lots of little kids again. They would ride their bikes by the driveway to say “hi Jean” and stop to talk with her. She even invited them to use her driveway for their adventures since “their driveway was short”. She loved looking out the window as they rode by and waved. Grammie’s neighborhood is special and Grammie was a special part of it. She is loved in her neighborhood. She has dear friends there.
When you get to live as many years as Grammie you experience life as happy moments and sad events take place. Great grandkids arrived; Chris married Annie and produced Avelyn and Logan and Michael met (in kindergarten!) and later married Amanda and delivered Ethan and Will. Kalli added Evan to the family. Nate has brought Samantha into the family. History repeats, new jobs are taken, decisions are made, family members and friends pass away. Dick was taken from Jean and the family fourteen years ago followed by her grandson Jason. Both losses left huge holes in her life never to be refilled. Lyme disease put Grammie in the hospital episode after episode with a little bit of “Jean” being taken away with each return. But the beautiful Grammie we all know was much tougher on the inside than she let on and fought to live her life at her Hingham home where she and Dick had spent more than fifty years. Grammie accepted a “roommate” only after her favorite granddaughter, Kalli, asked to live with her while she worked for a short while in Boston. Grammie managed to stay in her home until last summer when she moved to one of the last open apartments at Penniman Assisted Living where her living room was replicated and her old phone number relocated. They love her there… imagine that.
Jean Louise (Ericson) Marques aka: Mom, Grammie will be missed by everyone who loved her and a bunch of folks who knew her and probably a pile of people who only met her once. Yes, she was that kind of person. She was “goodness” and “fairness” and all of that stuff you want your kids to be as humans. She was, and is, a “Good” example.
And she wasn’t even trying, she just was wonderful.
We will think of you when we see Cardinals and we all love you Grammie.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Jean’s name to:
Father Bill’s and Mainspring, 422 Washington Street, Quincy 02169.
Town of Hingham Veterans, 210 Central Street, Hingham.
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