Not a Plain Jane

Today I want to honor my grandmother Jane Burnham. I received sad news on the phone that she had passed away yesterday. She lived a full eighty-five years and had a great life. I would like to celebrate her in this blog and share some of her amazing accomplishments and why she was not a plain Jane!

For starters, my grandmother went to college at the age of 16. She was brilliant! I cannot say that I inherited this, but I appreciate that she was. She met my Gran-Gran who was 12 years older than her (I always used that ammo on my dad growing up) in French class. I thought that was so romantic. She got her masters in piano pedagogy from Columbia. She became a piano teacher and birthed five children. She was so strong when one of them did not make it in child-birth. My Gran-Gran was a lawyer that fought for the rights of the Jews during World War II and for the African-Americans in the South to have equality. Jane was an encouraging and godly wife that stood by her man. She worked as the accompanist/organist in her church for many years. My dad told me that the one thing his dad told him before he married my mom was that he could fit both of his hands all the way around my grandmother’s waist! She was so beautiful and petite.IMG_0040

My favorite stories from her life include:

– Jane hiding from her parents when she was a little girl to the point of them calling the cops and coming to the house, only to find her hiding above the cabinet.

– That time we went to Disney World during Christmas when I was 17 and she rode the Rockin Roller Coaster at 80 years of age, so they took us through a secret passage and let us ride again front row!

– When she returned from a Mediterranean cruise in her 80’s where she rode a camel, played a piano in the chapel at Israel for all to hear, and came back wanting to be called Cleopatra.

– That time we called her “The Dangerous Grandmother” because she always set off the metal detectors in Airports and got searched.

– Lastly, the time she was at a dinner next to Amy Grant and Amy offered up her studio for Jane to record her next album. (She later decided not to because of the length of waiting)

To my sweet and loving Grandmother. You are a fox! I love you dearly and know that you are with Jesus in heaven and seeing Gran-Gran again for the first time in a long time. πŸ™‚ My mission is to Embrace the Extraordinary, and Grandmomma you did that! I am going to miss her so much and am dedicating my Senior Artist Program to her this Saturday night at 8pm at Liberty University. One of my favorite quotes of hers was, “Emma, I played the field, and I highly suggest you do the same.” So even though she will not be at my wedding one day, I will take heart and press on haha! Jane was anything but plain, she was EXTRAORDINARY!


Emma Danzey


6 thoughts on “Not a Plain Jane

  1. How beautiful and wonderful to have a grand daughter as you. Jane I am sure treasured the very thought of you. I am Janes first cousin and have tried to find out about her. It has only been in recent years that we met and it was an event that will always be “extraordinary” in my life. Emma, you are apparently named after my Aunt Emma Danzey. Your great grandmother, Aunt Emma and my dad (Richard Marion Danzey) were siblings. I would like to know you one day. I offer my and my brothers condolences and love. Marion Danzey Thomas.


    1. Wow this is an amazing connection! I am so thankful for the blogging community to bring relatives together πŸ™‚ Marion you have been such and encouragement in this hard time! Love you!


  2. This is definitely “Life Extraordinaire” !!! Thank you, sweet Emma for sharing, and…. yes, follow her advise. I love you.


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