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By Susan Wiggins
Mayor Pro Tempore 

My friend, Ed Grimes

A Page of History


June 9, 2018

When Claudia White, owner of The Loop Newspaper, asked me to write my column about Mayor Ed Grimes, I knew that other columns and news stories would have already been written and published.

None of us like "old news" so I wasn't sure how I could do that, but then I remembered that all I had to do was write about my friend of 15 years.

You can call it "...the rest of the story," I suppose.

I first met Ed and his wife Ruthie when I decided I wanted to serve on the Tehachapi Recreation and Parks District. I told my husband Ed Wiggins that it was an appointed position, but that no one in the city really knew who I was, having only lived here for a few years.

My Ed said that it would be okay because he knew Ed Grimes. He gave him a call and set up a time to go meet him. Ed grilled me on education, experience, affiliations and I am sure I repeated my entire life story.

When I was finished he told me to submit an application to the city council and he would support me. The rest of the story is that I served four years on the recreation board and later decided to run for city council.

Now I am preparing to run for another term on the council in November, but this time I will have to do it without the sage advice of my friend, the Mayor. Ed left this earth recently and went into the arms of his Lord. His funeral was held recently with over 1,000 family members and friends attending.

Looking back on my friendship with the Mayor sometimes makes me laugh and then cry at the same time.

I served one term as mayor with the "other mayor" most times by my side. One of our biggest "disagreements" was who got to ride "shotgun" with City Manager Greg Garrett driving.

Ed said the mayor should always ride shotgun, because he was the mayor. That worked until I was mayor, then I got to ride shotgun.

When Ed knew I was right and he was wrong about something he would always say, "Oh shut up!" I in turn would laugh and he would glower at me.

As you have already heard, Ed loved Tehachapi and everything about it. He especially loved to "work the crowd" which to politicians means saying hi and smiling to everyone you can lay your eyes upon.

Some politicians do it to get votes. Ed did it because he genuinely loved talking to everyone he knew (which was everyone).

He also loved a good parade. He was the first one there to lay claim to his spot –yes, shotgun! None of us argued with him. He loved hearing virtually everyone along the parade route yelling, "Hey Ed! Yeah Mayor! Love you Ed!"

He would call out to them by name and everyone would smile.

After my husband Ed died in 2014, the Mayor told me that he promised my Ed that he would look after me – and he did. He picked me up before every council meeting and brought me home. If he and Ruthie were going to an event they both would pick me up.

I remember attending a friend's potluck Christmas party in the snow with all three of us carrying hot dishes and trying to hold on to each other so we wouldn't fall down. If I didn't call him every day or so, he would call me and say, "Just checkin' on ya!"

Ruthie would go with Ed and leave a car parked at the end of the parade route and then drop both of us off at Kmart where the city parades are staged.

When the parade ended at the park or the depot he would say, "Come on – it's time to shake hands and kiss babies!" And we would do just that! Ed would always introduce me to someone that I did not know; making sure that everyone knew me, too.

When I was at home mourning the death of my friend the thought came to me to not be sad, after all he is in heaven. I also laughed, hoping he was not getting into trouble trying to put together a Fantasy Football League for fall 2018.

I smiled when I saw him standing before Our Lord being enveloped in His arms, as Jesus said to Ed, "Well done, good and faithful servant."


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