Garry Clark: Grandma Shirley’s gift was words of perseverance

Through stories of North Carolina, my grandma taught me to speak up and to bounce back to tackle more.

Garry Clark, president and chief executive of Economic Alliance of Snohomish County

By Garry Clark / Herald Forum

My late grandmother, Shirley Clark, would sit me down in her spotless senior apartment on Maple Avenue in Takoma Park, Md.

She would tell me stories about rural North Carolina. About the strong Black and Indigenous blood line that fought for freedom there, The Back Swamp. She’d tell be about the need to be strong, about being stubborn as hell about my dreams.

She’d say, “Speak up, Boy. The world won’t hear you otherwise.”

Grandma Shirley was barely 5-foot tall, but to this day, she held the strongest voice, the most radiant energy, I’ve ever seen. I wanted to know about her journey, how she was made of stronger stuff, how she endured atrocities in her youth, the loss of both parents, but never let it stop her.

Today, I miss Grandma Shirley, those talks about life, about overcoming, and about falling down, and always, but always, bouncing up to tackle more. Not because you had to, but because every day the sun rises, Grandma Shirley thought, it was a chance to do things even better.

Bounce up folks. Go at it again. You got this.

Merry Christmas.

Garry Clark is president and chief executive of Economic Alliance of Snohomish County. He lives in Snohomish.

Talk to us

More in Opinion

toon
Editorial cartoons for Tuesday, May 24

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Fire destroyed much of the town of Malden, Washington in 2020 after a tree reportedly snapped and fell into power lines operated by Avista. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin, file)
Editorial: Return of wildfire season brings new concern

Utilities in the state will need to pay more attention to risks to powerlines from wind and trees.

Criticism of Biden is fine, but we need ideas, too

In response to a letter to the editor regarding his decision not… Continue reading

Electric cars too expensive; I’m keeping my Mustang, SUV

So, our state wants new car sales to be only electric vehicles… Continue reading

Marysville School Board should respect wishes of parents

I have a question about the Marysville School Board proposal to require… Continue reading

Comment: Democrats, listen up: Fetterman is no policy wonk

The Senate candidate’s lack of specifics conveys an openness to compromise and a spirit of pragmatism.

Comment: Judicial branch may learn there are checks on it, too

If GOP jurists take their activism too far, they may find themselves out of step with voters and the other two branches.

Harrop: Dress codes are about respect, not money

A nice restaurant isn’t the gym or a Zoom call; there’s no reason not to dress properly for the occasion.

toon
Editorial cartoons for Monday, May 23

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Most Read