May 16, 2012
Who Was Norma Ruth (Royal) Stone?
She was the third child and the second daughter of Norma Noral Smith Royal and Robert William Royal. Her roots came from the proud state of Oklahoma and big state of Texas. She was born November 23,1937, near Ardmore, Oklahoma. She was the wife of Melvin Stone and the Mother of Mark and Rebecca Stone. She was the grandmother of five grandchildren and a great- grandmother to six more children.
While most of us came from the standard mold, not Norma. No, with Norma God decided to give us and our family someone special, someone really unique to love. She was always a little thin and wiry, full of energy, excitement and fun. She was also the Italian of our family, she would face you toe to toe and she would wave her arms and let you know what she thought. Then she was ready to smile and move on. Norma lived her life, Norma’s way.
She was our entertainer; she could light up a room by just walking in. She knew how to tell a story and play a joke. She loved to imitate the comedians of her day. She became our own Phylis Diller, with her wild hair and her distinctive laugh and we loved her. And we laughed with her. After we would go see a movie, we usually walked, she would sing, skip and dance around, all the way home.
She also had the gift of extra sensory perception or at least I thought she did. She always knew what she was getting for Christmas and I never did. She always seem to know a lot things that I did not know. As it turned out she liked to peek. One year, mom decided to test her extra sensory perception.
Norma wanted a ladies wrist-watch for Christmas, she had just turned sixteen. It had been a good year so Mom and Dad decided to honor her request but instead of putting it under the tree right away, Mom waited until she was sure Norma had done her peeking. Norma thought she was getting a purple wool jumper because she had peeked. Winnie opened her Christmas gift first and got a watch to Norma’s surprise. When Mom handed Norma her package she wouldn’t open it and flung it across the room. In doing so she created one of our family’s most memorable Christmas Stories. When she was finally convinced to open her gift, to her embarrassment she found a beautiful ladies wrist-watch safely tucked inside.
Norma worked most of her life and took her happy go lucky attitude with her. No job was beneath her. A job was a job to her. She worked as a surgical aid, she worked in the farm sheds and she worked for the Kern County School District in the cafeteria at McKee Elementary School. The kids loved her and she loved them. She did everything from washing the dishes to cooking the food.
And speaking of cooking, Norma was a great cook she could whip up a meal out of almost nothing and have it feed a bunch of people too, but once Uncle Sonny and Aunt Iky spent the night with Norma and Melvin. The next morning Norma decide to cook breakfast for everyone. As Uncle Sonny would tell the story, she forgot to put the baking powder in the biscuits and if you dropped one of them it would go all the way to China. To hear Norma tell the story, it was Uncle Sonny that cooked those biscuits. It was hard to get the best of Norma.
Another memorable family story is the time we took a car trip to Oklahoma. I think we were just leaving Albuquerque, New Mexico when mother sensed something was wrong because inside the car was just too quiet. Sure enough, when she did a head count, Norma and Winnie had been left at the gas station back where we had stopped to fill up the car and take a potty break. Daddy quickly flipped the car around and everyone was relieved to see Norma holding her little sister’s hand like a grown up standing on the corner looking for the car.
As long as I can remember Norma loved to play cards and bingo. I think it was because she had a card-playing-guardian-angel. She always won more than she lost but in truth I think she like to play cards and bingo because of all the friends she made. She had her bingo buddies. No one was ever a stranger to Norma for long. If you wanted a good time all you had to do was say, “Let’s play cards.” Then for the next four hours you would be entertained, with stories, jokes and laughter as she cleaned out your pennies and pocket change.
If you grew up around Norma, then you knew she had false teeth most of her adult life because she ate lemons like candy as a kid and all that acid destroyed her teeth but not her personality. When little kids would come over to her and Melvin’s house she would take out her teeth and tell them stories while making funny and scary faces. The kids loved it. Make a scary face aunt Nornie, make a scary face, they would shout as they giggled and laughed. Norma loved the attention as much as the kids loved her stories.
Even though my sister could be a character, when it came to her family she was serious business. I don’t think I have ever met a woman so dedicated to her family unless it is her mother whom she is named after. And when I say her family, I mean her husband, her kids, her grandkids and her great-grandkids. No amount of work or sacrifice was too great for her to make for them. And still she found the time to call her mother every day. I am so in awe of my sister Norma. Her dedication, her determination and her love has influenced my life, our lives, for the better, forever.
As long as we live, Norma will live, in our hearts and in our memories. Even so, we will miss her greatly.
Have you ever taken a walk on the beach or along a river’s stream, or for that matter just walked down the street and have something catch your eye. A stone maybe, you bend over and you pick it up, you look at it, you examine it, you feel it, you look around to see if there are anymore like it and there’s not. Just the touch makes you feel good. It’s not a diamond, it’s not a ruby, it is just a stone but you like it so you put it in your pocket and take it home. Well, last week God was taking a walk in his garden, and something caught his eye, a stone, a unique Norma Stone, he bent over and gently picked it up, he looked at it, he examined it, he liked it, he put it in his pocket and took her home.
We have something we would like to share with you today in remembrance. Norma’s birthstone, we call it Norma’s Stone. Ancient cultures believed it gave joy and love to the owner. We would like you to pick one up, put it in your pocket and take it home.