Tribute to Ludi Mai by her neighbor, John Carroll
|Ludi Mai Sensabaugh Goode, she was a true southern lady. She had no
middle name. Her name was Ludi Mai. A unique name for a very unique lady.
Aggie and I met Ludi Mai when we moved to Chalfont as her next door neighbor in 1991. We instantly loved her but weren't quite sure how we should address her. A neighbor, Wendy and her daughter, Lacey, solved the problem for us. They called her Mimi and so did we. It seemed so natural. After all, she was everyone's mother or grandmother.
She had so many qualities. She was kind and hospitable to everyone she met. She was interested in them. Maybe that's one of the reasons she was invited to every event in the neighborhood. People loved Ludi Mai. People of all ages felt at ease with her. And nobody ever heard anybody say a bad word about her. When the first ever Chalfont July 4th parade and cook out took place Mimi was the unchallenged unanimous choice to be the queen of the parade riding in the front convertible wearing her specially made tiara.
Mimi was an animal lover, particularly dogs. She loved to walk the two white American Eskimo dogs - Brittany and Poco. I think they helped her physical health as she dutifully walked them twice a day. After the death of Brittany, it was Poco who helped her stay healthy. Mimi had broken her hip about five years ago and she healed remarkably fast in order to walk her Poco around the neighborhood.
She was very proud of her family and talked about them and proudly displayed pictures of her two sons and their wives, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. They were equally fond of her affectionately calling her Ganga. She was loyal to her school, SMU, and would listen to football games on the radio. She was very involved with her sorority, Delta Gamma, which you've already heard about.
She had a special knack with kids. Our son, Doug, met her when he was only 11 and she was only 78 when we moved into the Chalfont neighborhood. I always thought it was nice that Doug liked to walk the dogs with Mimi most afternoons. But I was amazed when he would return from school in the summer when he was older and remind us that we had to get back to the house at Chalfont so he could walk Poco with Mimi. I asked Mimi what she was doing during the walks to have such a Pied Piper effect on him. She thought for a second and replied, "Well, we have our talks."
She has been a huge part of Lacey's life who is now a student at Colgate. She was the little blond girl in the neighborhood you saw in the picture montage. Every time back from college she would dutifully and happily stop by to visit with Mimi. Mimi's interest in children continued to the end of her life as we experienced with Maci, the little five year old red head some of you have seen us walk in the neighborhood when she visits. Maci's first words on arriving at our house have almost always been let's go over to see Mimi and Poco.
Mimi was essentially a very healthy lady the vast majority of her life. I remember driving her to the hospital for a short stay when she was oh, only 83 or 84. To my surprise she remarked that this was her first time staying in the hospital outside of giving birth to her two sons. I think her good health was a part of what gave her such a positive outlook on life. It also gave her a fierce independence. She was slow to accept any loss of independence in her life including giving up her driver's license and having care givers live in her house. I know she became very grateful for their help and I would be remiss if I did not mention their efforts, particularly over these past few months. One of the things most dear to Mimi that she did not want to give up was her home. We are all grateful that she was able to live out her life as she wished surrounded by her garden and various plants and her familiar surroundings.
I recognized early on that Mimi would be my role model for growing older. She was always involved. She was the Sunshine chair person for the neighborhood for many years who always sent out cards of joy or sympathy to our neighbors depending upon the occasion. She always looked forward to making new friends especially with the little people and staying involved. She was a good listener and somebody you always looked forward to seeing. She was polite, kind and always a lady.
Since Mimi was such a show business person being acclaimed as "the finest actress we have ever seen on SMU stages" in this past Thursday's newspaper I thought how would those in show business bring this remembrance to a proper and fitting conclusion. My thoughts go back to Jimmy Durante, a comic piano playing vaudevillian whom I adored and who had his own TV show in the 50s. He made this same introduction on his weekly TV show with his raspy voice of "and now for the last of the red hot mamas....Miss Sophie Tucker. I would change that introduction in Mimi's case to the last of the Grand Dames, Ms. Ludi Mai Sensabaugh Goode. After Durante's introduction Sophie Tucker would come out in grand style with a hankerchief tucked in her sleeve and conclude by singing "One of these Days You're gonna miss me. That I'd keep the same. We already do.
We miss the friendship, the sincerity, the integrity, the talent, the companionship, the warmth, the compassion, the understanding nature, the love. But we are so grateful, honored and privileged to have been able to share this gift from God for as long as we knew her.