Clear sky
Clear sky
23 °F
December 10, 2016
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search

What to make of Grandma Michele; Spreading the power of happiness

Grandma Michele in her Sunday best, shopped at the Sullivan County Famrers’ Market in Callicoon last weekend, including a stop at the Eminence Road Farm Winery stand. Thanks to her optimistic philosophy of life she always sees the glass as half full.
TRR photo by Jane Bollinger

Among the people she likes to help locally are veterans returning from service in Iraq and Afghanistan. She is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 531 in Honesdale, PA and has taken her alter ego Grandma Michele to visit, entertain and talk to vets in VA facilities.

Recently, Grandma Michele decided to leave her own comfort zone—her home in Damascus, PA and stomping grounds on both sides of the river—to take her “show” on the road. On April 30 she boarded a bus in Binghamton, NY (yes, in full regalia), and set off for Washington, DC. Her mission: to meet and talk to ordinary people. “Washington, DC is so fear-based,” she explained. “I just felt like they needed some cheer there. You know, everyone is so fearful, but if we live in fear, then fear wins and we don’t get to enjoy our day. We don’t get to enjoy a child laughing, or listening to a bird, or seeing a flower, or seeing anything but fear. And then we have nightmares and we torture ourselves. We’re not here to be tortured,” she concluded.

Some people, of course, see only that she is a bit odd, and looking no further, dismiss her. But that doesn’t bother her. Recently, a man at a party told her, “People think you’re off the wall the way you dress—sparkly, hats, carrying your puppets. They talk about you.”

“I told him, ‘Well, that’s good. Keep talking about me—good or bad. It keeps me alive. I’m not dead yet.’

“[Besides] if you buy into the story some person is telling about you, then that gives them power over you. Why would I give anybody my power? As long as I can look in the mirror and know what I do every day, then that’s what really counts.”

How is her Grandma Michele persona different from Michele Schuchman? “They’re really not different,” she replied to the question. “They’re really the same.”

Little wonder then that both espouse the same message—that love is the answer and that “the more kindness you can share with another, [it] creates a better world for all of us.”