My dear sister, Ginger, passed away on January 17th2022 from Covid/Pneumonia. The last I saw her, she was active and healthy and celebrating a milestone, fiftieth wedding anniversary. I thumbed through old pictures which brought back many wonderful memories.
When I was born, my parents were going to name me, Ginger. Their friends said, “You can’t name your daughter, Ginger. It’s a name for pets.” But the love of the name prevailed and Ginger got her rightful name. She was full of spunk and looked up to me, her sister two years older. Being the baby of the family, she would run off to a friend’s house after dinner to avoid the pile of dishes. Boy, did she make up for it and later life.
Ginger and mother were very close. She told her, “I don’t ever want to leave you. But if I get married, I’ll live next door.” Ginger and her family took care of mom, who lived at the Garden Apartments in Waterman, until her death at 93 years old. When Ginger joined me at NIU, she also put her faith in Jesus and soon met the love of her life, Jim Fay. Jim was trying to escape being a farmer by going to NIU to become a Spanish teacher. But the love of the land prevailed, and she and Jim married. Ginger would call me and say, “Sue, are you sitting down?” Then I knew she was going to announce another pregnancy. Getting pregnant was not easy for Ginger, who experienced morning sickness with each of her six children. She always had a smile on her face except when she suffered a miscarriage in late term. I came out to comfort her as we sat around the kitchen table in tears. Her family was the very fabric of her life.
In the Spring, Ginger would call and say, “The corn and tomatoes are ready; come out and get them.” There was nothing like their wonderful sweet corn. My three children loved to escape suburbia to visit the Fay farm. “We had so many adventures,” said, Aaron. We would play in the barn and pretend we were lost children who had to forge our way in life.” They had a motherless lamb, that Ginger had to bottle fed. It became the family pet. Now, how many children had a pet lamb like the Fay children? To cool off on hot summer days, there was the large swimming pool near the house. I believe it was Karrie who was trying to teach one of the third world kittens how to swim, with no luck. Ginger always had a great lunch for us and the whole family would come out for Thanksgiving celebrations.
Loyalty and love prevailed at the Fay house. Not only did they love their children and grandchildren unconditionally, but they filled their large farm house with many who were trying to find their way in the world. They lived Matthew 25:35, where Jesus spoke of those who would inherit the kingdom of God. “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in.” Yes, many strangers were fed literally and spiritually on the Fay farm.
Ginger came to almost every major event in my life. We stood up at each other’s weddings. She was there when my son Aaron was born and I was there when Heather, her youngest, was born. When I directed the school plays at Cary-Grove High School, she would bring our mother and her mother-in-law to attend our matinee performances.
Now in her resting place, Ginger will always live in our hearts. She loved people of all walks of life and expressed it in her actions. I will miss meeting her this March in Geneva to celebrate her birthday. Thanks, Julie, for asking me this question on Storyworth. The tears are now flowing, and I am experiencing some healing.