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Here’s a guest post from my friend Erin Goodwin. She’s got a fashion/passion story about her grandmother you won’t want to miss. I hope you’ll attend her Alzheimer’s benefit in Indy on September 13 at Mudsock’s Grill from 5 to 8 p.m. in Noblesville. Good news for readers (and shoe/purse fanatics) outside the Indianapolis area: there’s an online auction on September 21. You can learn how to bid in the online auction by liking the Facebook page for Betty Jane’s Sassy Shoes and Purses Too. Either way, go check it out!

I was quite tickled when Crystal asked if I would be willing to write a guest blog post! I certainly have a lot to say. People sometimes say I don’t know when to stop! I do speak my mind, and in that regard, I am a modern woman. Independent, opinionated, and not afraid to say what I think!

However, apart from my modern attitude, I often feel like I am living in the wrong decade. My values, morals, and ideals are from a period long forgotten. I credit my parents for instilling me with confidence, drive, motivation, and the ability to speak my mind. But I credit my grandma, Betty Jane, for instilling in me what it means to be a real woman, something sadly, which seems to have gone out of style in current times. “Keep your heels, head, and standards high.” Real women are classy. They put pride into their appearance. My grandma was very classy. She was never without make-up, nail polish, freshly applied lipstick, and heels to die for!  I could never get enough of playing in her make-up drawer, and in her shoe closet! She wore size 4 and a half, which as a young girl, was a dream! I wanted so desperately to fill her shoes in more ways than one!

I learned so much about what it means to be a woman. Of course looking the part is an important component. Every day my grandma put special care and attention into her appearance. She did this for her own sake, but she also put effort into herself for her husband, my grandpa. I do this even today. Even though I have been with my husband since we were sixteen (almost twenty years), I still put extra effort into my appearance on date nights to show him that he is worth it!

I learned how to ultimately put your family first and put extra time, attention, and care into everything for your family. I cherish my kids and my husband because she did the same. She was an all-around wonderful, considerate, caring woman who put others needs ahead of her own. And in this day and age where everyone seems to want to get ahead and look out only for themselves – this is something I hold very dear. She treated others with respect and handled herself with beauty, dignity and grace.

I also learned some hard lessons too. I learned about 15 years ago that my grandma started to forget things. First it was little things like where she put her purse or keys, then it moved on to bigger things, like things we just talked about. We all knew the sad truth – that just like my great-grandma, and my grandma’s other siblings, she was developing Alzheimer’s disease.

In the last couple of years of her life, she lost the ability to recognize everyday objects, her own surroundings, and the most devastating, she was unable to remember the people that loved her most. My grandfather took care of her every day of her life and did his best to deal with the situation. But, in the end, it was too much for him. She spent the last couple of months in a nursing home. When I came to visit her several days before she died – she said, “I don’t know you, but I know I love you.” Even though the disease took her from us, she stayed sweet until the very end. I am grateful to have been with her when she passed on.

In honor of my sweet grandma I started raising money for Alzheimer’s by creating an event called Betty Jane’s Sassy Shoes & Purses too. This year will be the third annual event and I am hoping to raise at least $4500. The event will be held at Mudsock’s Grill in Noblesville and will feature an amazing silent auction. I ask those attending to bring a new pair of shoes or a new purse that will be collected and then placed in an online auction starting on September 21st (World Alzheimer’s Day). All the proceeds raised from the auctions will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Thank you from the bottom of my soles, for reading my story!