Our grandmother was the daughter of an immigrant family from Eastern Europe and lived in Gary, Indiana outside of Chicago. The wife of a steel worker, she lived a humble life, however, we found an abundance of love, encouragement, optimism and creativity in their home. She would not allow the television to be on when we visited. Instead, she always taught us something new - painting, baking, fishing, how to polka. She was an amazing artist and created beautiful paintings but she did not pick up a paintbrush until she was 40 years old. She was still teaching painting lessons to women in her community center up until she passed away in 2013 at the age of 94. She was a major inspiration to us all. Her legacy: you can create under any circumstances, and it's never too late to start.

Her name was Mary Ballog {Bal-log}.