Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Grandma C.

My grandma died today. Currently, I am experiencing a sadness like I've never experienced. I have lived thirty-one (plus) years of my life with all four of my grandparents. Today, that lovely world of having all of them around was shattered.

I'm so sad. I came home from work today with P.I.C. and decided to keep my mind occupied by going through all of my old photos and scanning in all of them of my grandma. It helped to keep my mind on all of the wonderful memories I had of her. Tonight, I feel the need to just tell you all about her in a rather incoherent fashion. I love her. I never want to forget all the reasons why.

Allegedly when I was born, she ran screeching out her house down the driveway to her neighbors that "IT'S A GIRL!" (She had two boys.)

She smoked for years. So did my grandpa. One day, she just quit. I asked her how/why. She said one day she coughed up blood. She threw her current pack away and never smoked again. Cold turkey. (Grandpa eventually quit too, only he was aided by butterscotch discs that he was so kind to share with me.)

Her hair was silver. Not gray, silver. She dressed rather smartly for a grandma. She wore great clothes and had more shoes than any woman I'd ever met. I mourned the day I bypassed her size. Dressing up in her vintage clogs and heels and modeling them in her closet mirror was one of my favorite past-times.

I loved to hear stories of how she and my grandpa would go out. Of course, this was the time when people dressed up and wore hats and gloves. They traveled all over (Bermuda, Hawaii, Spain, Morocco) and had so many stories to tell. When they went to Spain, Grandma told me she brushed her teeth with wine so as not to drink the water. I believe she actually did that. Part of the reason I wanted to incorporate Morocco on our honeymoon was because I knew that she and my grandpa had gone. I mean, Grandma hated Morocco. She point-blank told me not to go there. But I did anyhow. Mainly because I knew it would result in a good story with which I could tell my grandchildren.

She loved to shop. In fact, she used to have all of her Christmas shopping done by August. No lie. I'm pretty sure she had it all wrapped by then too. She would make my grandpa drive her all around to the various stores for anything she wanted. (She never drove.)

I used to relish all snow days, sick days, or days where our teachers were striking. That always meant Mom would drop us off at Grandma's. That meant watching Zoobilee Zoo (PLEASE tell me someone else recalls this slightly creepy show), eating spaghetti-os and meatballs from the can, having "cocktail hour" when Grandpa got home from work wherein my brother and I would get the appropriate virgin drink. I had my own room there with a double bed. No matter who stayed there, it was always my room. I used to raid my grandma's nail polish drawer for her newest shade to give myself manicures.

She loved the Chicago Bulls. LOVED them. The words "those damn Bulls" frequently came out of her mouth. She hated football though.

Her grandma was from Germany. She spoke the "old German." My grandma learned the new German. This caused a problem when Grandma was in school. Her grandma insisted on speaking to her in the old German which my grandma did not understand. Grandma would sit and do housework with her grandma during the day frequently. When Grandma's dad got home, her grandma (confused yet?) would tattle on her and tell him that my grandma was not speaking the right language. My grandma's dad would say, "She speaks the right language. She speaks English."

She taught me how to knit. I still have the little book from the 1960s she gave me to help. I still can only knit dishcloths and scarves.

Before her eyesight got too bad, she used to read all the time. She loved books. When I got older, she would pass along these books. Being a voracious reader myself, I was in the habit of reading nearly anything anyone was kind enough to donate to me. I quickly learned that my grandma had an affinity for suspenseful romance books. (Read any book by Sandra Brown. Find the page where she references "his manhood." I guarantee there will be at least one reference.)

My grandpa used to buy a couple scratch-off lottery tickets every week. This annoyed Grandma. She concocted a deal. For every $1 he spent on lottery tickets, he had to give her a dollar. For every ticket he won, he had to split his winnings 50/50. The last I heard, Grandma had saved up about $500.

She and my grandpa had cocktail hour every day. When my grandpa worked, he usually had a martini or two (gin, dry, rocks, twist) and cocktail hour was at 5:30 p.m. After he retired, cocktail hour gradually moved up to about 3:00 p.m. Grandma used to enjoy a scotch and water back in the day. She switched it up to one glass of chardonnay or occasionally a merlot. (She really really loved Charles Shaw and requested me to bring bottles of it in from Trader Joe's when I came into town.) She eventually cut Grandpa down to one martini, two on holidays.

She and Grandpa taught me that a Moscow Mule is properly served in a copper mug. Limes get squeeze in first, CRUSHED ice, then vodka and ginger beer. That is the only proper way to drink one. They knew so much about the proper way to drink things. I figure it's because they drank it all.

For a couple of summers when I was in college, I served at a nearby restaurant. I would take all of my double breaks at Grandma's house, letting them feed me and taking a nap on the couch as they watched golf.

For years, while I was in college, then in law school, then on my own, she and my grandpa would call me at 10:00 a.m. sharp every Sunday. Many days, I'd have to sleep off my hangover, but I would always call back. When she started getting sicker, those calls didn't come like they had in the past. When we would hang up, she would always say..."I love you" and I'd say back, "A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck."

Our standard Christmas morning photo, circa 1983.
I'm sure I'm forgetting more stories and memories. This is a good start. She was a wonderful, fun, and lively woman. I'm so glad to have had her in my life for as long as I did.

Grandma, I love you. A bushel. A peck. A hug around the neck. For always. XOXO


  1. Again, I am so sorry for your loss, Sweetie. She sounds like an amazing lady, and I am so glad she was a part of your life for so long. Xo

  2. What a wonderful post! I was never lucky enough to have a Grandma (or Grandpa) like yours. What an amazing lady and what great stories you have to tell. I'm sorry she's gone; but so glad she was here for you.

  3. I'm so sorry for your loss. Your grandma sounds like she was an absolutely incredible person, and I'm glad you got to have her. I'm also especially glad that you will never forget her because you won't let yourself forget her. xoxo.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing and such influential woman in your life. Sorry for your loss. Thinking of you! XO

  5. i am so sorry. what a beautiful post about a beautiful woman. xx

  6. Just saw this, I am sorry for your loss. Well written AZ, and truly I am sure you know how proud she is of you and how much she still loves you. My deepest condolences.

  7. Loved this, lady. I think I've heard you tell most of these stories, but they're still great. :) For the record, Zoobilee Zoo was the bomb, and my grandma also still says the "bushel and a peck and hug around the neck." Sending hugs. KO

  8. This brought me to tears, especially the bushel and a peck part. My mom and I have always said this to each other. I plan on getting a tattoo of it in her handwriting someday.

    I'm so sorry for the loss of Grandma C. I hope you find comfort in her memories.


  9. That was very touching. Your sadness is very evident, but you did a marvelous job honoring her. I'm sure she is very proud of you and is glad to know that she has made such a huge impact on your life. I hope you continue to share such stories and never let the memories die.