The note that arrived with a recent $100 donation to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund conjured an image of a couple of good ol’ boys, country music singers maybe, gone now but not forgotten.

“In Loving Memory of Slim and Shorty.”

Sometimes the imagination falls short.

But for what it matters, Slim and Shorty were a pair of 94-year-old women, one born in Biddeford, the other in rural Texas, who shared a family, a home in Portland, a sense of humor and a legacy that will brighten the holidays for children in need.

Slim was Irvine Scribner Kantz, who was born on the family farm in Mobeetie, Texas. She was a teacher and a mother who raised two daughters with her husband in California.

Shorty was Simone Loranger, who grew up in Biddeford before moving to Saco, worked as a shoe stitcher and raised three sons with her husband.

The pair both had dementia when they moved into the Portland home belonging to their children. Slim’s daughter, Portland attorney Janet Kantz, is married to Shorty’s son, David Loranger, who retired from the Saco Police Department to take care of the women.

The twangy nicknames were really just a creative solution, said Janet Kantz.

“They both answered to ‘Mom,’ so we had a little issue,” Kantz said.

Her mother had first been given the nickname Slim by her father back home on the farm in the 1920s, and it still fit her.

Shorty was just a natural choice for Loranger.

“My mother-in-law was maybe 4-foot-10,” Kantz said. “It worked because, like I said, if you yelled ‘Mom’ both of their heads popped up.”

The nicknames also reflected both women’s sense of humor.

Slim, who had fond memories of her nickname, used to joke that she was a Texan by birth, a Californian by marriage and a Mainer by old age.

Shorty, who had more advanced dementia, would smile at her nickname and also never lost her sense of humor.

Her son would walk with her to the bathroom in the morning, Kantz said, “and halfway there he would say, ‘If you can walk, you can dance,’ and they would do a little spin about and she would giggle.”

Simone “Shorty” Loranger died in June 2014. Irvine “Slim” Kantz died a year later. Both were at home.

Janet Kantz, meanwhile, is a longtime Press Herald reader and toy fund supporter who knew that Slim and Shorty would also support the kids.

“It just seemed right to put (the donation) in the name of my moms,” Kantz said.

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund in the Spirit of Bruce Roberts is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents. Bruce Roberts was the original pen name of the newspaper columnist who co-founded the fund in 1949.

The fund – now in its 68th year – is accepting applications for toys from needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Androscoggin and Knox counties.

This story was changed at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2017, to fix an editing error and include the correct name of Janet Kantz.

TOY FUND DONATIONS

In memory of Andrew Campbell $100

Betty Hines & family $25

Danuta Barnard $100

In memory of Kay $100

Andrea & Dick Hall $200

Suzanne Leone $1

In memory of Barbara Bolster, who loved Christmas $50

Kenneth & Nancy Gordon $200

Blair & Bonnie Warner $50

Leona & Amos Merrow $200

In loving memory of our nephew, Nick Rovnak, from Joan & Bob Nigro $100

In memory of James & Eleanor Kehoe and Raymond Davignon $100

In memory of Barbara J. Schirmer $25

James & Carol Fallon $50

Hank & Anna $60

Beverly Baker $25

In memory of Thomas Coffey and David Legge $30

In memory of Burton D. Bailey by his wife, Faith, with love always. $25

Merry Christmas! Claire Brooks $20

In memory of Bill Murphy $30

Given in the spirit of Christmas from Manus Doten and Jane Stewart $100

In memory of John Ganem $25

In memory of Susan J. Stevens. Miss you & love you. Dad, Mom, Rick, Eric & Tim $100

Michael Curci $100

Lynne & Jade $35

In memory of my mom, Ruth Hamm, who donated every year. Love, Mary Turner $100

Amy Shinn $50

Anonymous $25

Jane Higgins $35

Paul Loring $100

Anonymous $200

Thomas & Catharine Masterson $100

In memory of Maxine Dow $100

Georgina Irving $100

Merry Christmas from C, D, D, & B $100

In loving memory of our parents, Dad & Mom Horr and Mom & Dad Thompson $25

In memory of our grandchildren, Emme & Elijah – John & Joan $100

Sandra W Johnson $100

Anonymous $200

In memory of James & Lutie Barr $300

In loving memory of Phil & Laurie Campbell of Prospect Harbor, Maine – Clay & Mary Campbell $50

Cody, Everest, Ellery and Noa $40

Anonymous $50

In memory of Drew $50

Merry Christmas! $100

In memory of HK and STB $50

Total Year to Date: $26,944