She was raised in Missouri during the Great Depression, which influenced her frugality throughout her life. While she may have complained about the $10 monthly water bill, she never said "no" or pinched pennies when it came to her family. Trips to the "Five and Dime" always resulted in such frivolous purchases as cap guns, slingshots or Silly Putty. Claudine had a soft spot for all of her grandkids, probably the size of Missouri itself.
The signature that graces every bottle of our wine was taken from a letter Claudine affectionately wrote to Allen Crowley, then an Army officer serving in World War II. To read these letters many decades after they were penned is especially poignant as Brian has spent many months overseas both in Iraq and Afghanistan and enjoyed letters from home in the same way Allen surely must have.
Claudine passed away in 1999, just short of seeing both her grandsons graduate high school. She would have been over the moon as Lance became a doctor and Brian an Army officer.
We often wish she could have lived to see us grow up so she could regale us with stories of the past over a scotch and water (or a bottle of fine Napa cab), and see the lives and families we have built for ourselves.
Finally, Claudine taught us the importance of giving back. She was a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was an active member of several charities in her hometown.