This gift of a day of sanctuary was generously given to the chimpanzees by Jennifer Wallace in memory of her grandmother, Bessie Venema. Jennifer shared this touching message about Bessie:
“Today is in memory of my Granny Bess. She was a very influential person in my life and someone I think of a lot. My Granny was such a kind person and never had anything bad to say about anyone. She always made my French toast exactly how I liked it with a lake of maple syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar. She would play Scrabble with me for hours, letting me win with all the triple letter and double word scores. She sang silly songs to me and always let me lick the batter from the cookie bowl…although she would gently slap my hand and say I was going to get Salmonella. Granny taught me to sew and brought me hot tea when I was sick. I always felt loved around Granny. I miss her dearly and hope she knew how much I loved her with all my heart.”
Jennifer, thank you so much for wanting to do something for the chimpanzees as you honor your Granny Bess and how much she means to you. We are touched to be included in your celebration of her and happy to honor her here today. We wish you a day of comfort, peace and joy as you remember her. And we so appreciate you helping to ensure all those things for the chimps.
Negra may not be significantly older than some of the other chimps, but she seems to be considered the granny of the group, and most definitely the Queen: