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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Feliz cumpleaƱos a mi abuela

Winifred Hurd Lynch Higby. Better known to friends and family as "Ticky." Though late in life she preferred to be called by her given first name.

She didn't make me menudo but she made one hell of an Aunt Wally Cake. That's coffee cake for those of you outside the Lynch family.

Born February 25th, 1917 in the state of Iowa. Grandma Ticky had eight sisters and one brother. Grandma as well as everyone of her sisters spent some part of their lives as teachers, some of them their whole life. If you attended Hollywood High in the 1960s and 1970s you may have had Mrs. Van Sickle for home economics. That's Grandma's sister, my Auntie Flo.

Grandma Ticky was the youngest of the family. She met my Grandfather, Seward Edward "Ed" Higby at Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Iowa. They were married in 1937. My grandparents went on to raise two boys, owned two hardware stores in Iowa and were pillars of every community they lived in. My Grandpa was the Mayor of Rudd, Iowa for a time. They were involved in a number of organizations and were always busy. Their backyard pancake breakfasts, first in Iowa and later in North Hollywood would be attended by 100 or more people.

Grandma was loving and sweet but stern. She was ahead of her time in many ways in how she treated people. But she also expected you to work hard and be a good citizen. She also had a heck of a sense of humor; something every one of the Lynch girls had.

Grandma and Grandpa moved permanently from Iowa to North Hollywood not too long after I was born. All together, there were four of us granchildren.

After moving to California Grandma went back to teaching in her early 50s. She taught nursery school classes at First Christian Nursery School, then in North Hollywood now in Studio City (the school didn't move; the map did). Among her students were the members of the rock band Nelson and many other children of celebrities.

When licensing rules changed for pre-school teachers, Grandma went back to college and got her degree. It was her experience as a teacher and a love for learning that motivated my joy of reading and writing. She encouraged me to write as much as I could and always enjoyed my stories (as did Auntie Flo too). Grandma instilled in my love of "performing," we built puppets together and did puppet shows for her college classmates and for our fellow church members.

My grandparents are responsible for my love of community service and volunteering. Both of them were prolific to this regard. They never did it for ego reasons, they never sought attention or glory for themselves, they always helped others and this engenderd an amazing respect and love for them from everyone they know. I have never met one person who knew my grandparents that ever had a negative word to say about them.

We lost my grandparents in 1972. I was just eight years old. My sister wouldn't be born for another seven years and sadly never knew her amazing grandparents. My grandfather was an experienced private pilot who had built and owned several planes. On a Sunday afternoon in November 1972, as they took off from Lancaster Airport, engine failure caused the plane to crash just a few hundred feet in the air. They were both killed instantly.

I will always miss my grandparents and am sad that they were not there during the many milestones in my life. Considering that most of their brothers and sisters lived well into their 80s and 90s - indeed Grandma Ticky's older sister Marjorie just passed away a few months ago at age 94 - I believe they would most likely be alive today and getting a big kick out of Mayor Sam's blog.

Happy 92nd Birthday, Grandma!

(By the way my maternal grandmother is still alive and kicking and will be celebrating her 90th birthday soon. I spoke to her Tuesday morning. These relatives sure live a long time!)



Anonymous Anonymous said:

who cares about this? debbie lopez, joe b. and you. But nobody else.

February 25, 2009 11:30 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Michael: can you tell us why any of us should be interested in this lengthy post that doesn't mean much to anybody other than you and maybe a few of your friends?

There is an election on Tuesday, and your entry only pushes down far more important discussions regarding our future.

It's nice that you like your elderly granny. But this comes across like you're begging for an early inheritance. You should call her again and express the thoughts to her. Most people here don't care about your personal issues.

February 25, 2009 11:48 AM  

Blogger J.Scott said:

Your dad tells a funny story about your Grandma and Grandpa. On April fools day they made your dad and uncle funny pancakes with something in them so you couldn't cut them. Your dad said they got in trouble for something earlier so he kept trying to eat the pancakes anyway. Wish I could have met them- they sound cool.

February 25, 2009 12:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


I found the story of your family very interesting. What part of Iowa did they live in?

Thank you for sharing.

P.S. don" pay any attention to those who don't appreciate it. They probably don't have anything of interest to share about their families.

February 25, 2009 3:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

11:48 AM, more than likely MC said..."But this comes across like you're begging for an early inheritance. You should call her again and express the thoughts to her."

Hey Cuckoo Clock, In this heartfelt post up by Michael Higby (one of the best I've read on this blog) he tells us that his grandparents died in a plane crash in 1972, making it fully, throughly and irrefutably impossible for Michael Higby to:

...beg them for an early inheritance

...call his grandmother again and express these thoughts to her.

MC, you are a broken pigeon-honing device with the wires all twisted up...Tick-tock, tick-tock, tock-tick, tock-tick, tock-tick......

February 25, 2009 4:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Please ignore the person with the dysfunctional blogger disease. This is one of my fav Mayor Sam threads ever. I, too, would have liked to have met Higby's Grandparents. It's a tragedy they died so young. I'm sure they would have loved this blog. Apart from the one with the blogger disease, that is ;)

February 25, 2009 4:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Your Grandma was beautiful in that photo. You should be writing a book or at least a screenplay about these Grandparents, an attractive young couple, who moved here from Iowa and lived in the best times in the SVF.

Even the ending, tragic as it was, is fascinating, has drama. Antonio's gonna win, so what do you have to lose? Put down the blog for a few days a week and write your book.

Great story!

February 25, 2009 5:37 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I wish I was leaving something for my grandchildren to write about me. They will write great things about their Mom for sure!!!! I've met you once so this was special to read.. Thanks for sharing..

February 25, 2009 8:00 PM  

Blogger Ed Padgett said:

Great read Michael,

Thank you for sharing this heartfelt family history with us brought back fond memories of my grandparents.

Happy birthday grandma Higby

February 25, 2009 9:17 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Happy Birthday, Grandma Higby!

May you and your husband rest in peace. You can be very proud of your grandson. He's made this city better by stepping up and taking a stand.

February 25, 2009 11:14 PM  

Anonymous cantinflas said:

Mayor Sam aka Mike Higby this was a fantastico post, I laughed my ass off the way you started to tell us about your abuelita who did NOT make you menudo. hahahaha

We know who you were making a reference about (Don Quackers aka many names) with the menudo comment. But you could also mention huevos rancheros and nopales, because someone's abuelita is also a noplales and huevos rancheros expert. hahaha



Thanks for sharing your abuelita story Higby.

February 26, 2009 3:31 AM  

Anonymous g said:


March 07, 2009 2:39 PM  

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