Happy Birthday, Nan

Today marks the 109th anniversary of my grandmother's birth. She didn't live all those years, in fact I think she didn't get much past her 80th birthday. (I'm really bad at remembering dates - I'm very happy my sister got married in 2000. I can usually remember that. The other one got married in, gee, let's see - I think E. was 16 or maybe 17, so that makes it 1982? or 3? See, that's how my brain works, so I'm usually close, but can never be relied on to be accurate.)

I suppose most families are dysfunctional in one way or another, and mine is no exception.

Let's see how much I can come up with about my Grandmother.

1. She LOVED to hug me.
2. She used Dove cold cream every night.
3. Her skin was creepily soft.
4. And very wrinkly.
5. I don't think the Dove did what she wanted it to do.
6. She lived in a house in Skokie.
7. Skokie is a heavily Jewish population. (or at least, it did.)
8. My grandmother was Catholic.
9. And pretty darn anti-semitic.
10. I loved that her house had an ALLEY behind it!
11. And there were garbage cans in her alley!
12. And that the street sign was a wooden 4x4 sticking up out of the ground with the street name carved in it.
13. And that I knew just how many street signs I was allowed to walk to.
14. But I walked farther than that. A lot.
15. She let me watch the Mickey Mouse Club EVERY time it was on.
16. She used to jiggle her fat.
17. She used to say "Nanny, Nanny with the big fat fanny".
18. I suppose it made me laugh, but it seems a bit odd now.
19. I was a rascal and she still had a sweet spot for me.
20. She was pretty racist.
21. She once turned down popcorn at a movie because a black man was serving it.
22. She married her brother-in- law after they were both widowed.
23. She remained married to him until he died, although they barely lived in the same house let alone occupy the same rooms.
24. She was a pretty attractive young woman in her 20s.
25. Her son (my uncle) lived with her until the ripe old age of 42 when he died from a heart attack.
26. She used to travel to Europe to visit us when we were there.
27. I liked her visits.
28. My parents didn't as much.
29. My mother called her "mother".
30. I thought that was weird.
31. She used that temporary hair rinse they used to sell in drugstores to "cover" her gray.
32. She frequently had pink hair.
33. I thought that was weird.
34. She never quite got over my mother having a 3rd child at 42.
35. She was nice to my little sis, but never had the connection with her that she had with big sis and me.
36. The woman could hold a grudge.
37. She sent me (only me) money the year my uncle died and I was so appalled that I used that money to pay for my sister's and my airline tickets to go back to the funeral.
38. She bought me my first sewing machine.
39. I made my wedding gown with that sewing machine.
40. She was alive for both my older sis' and my weddings.
41. She saw her great granddaughter, but none of her great grandsons.
42. I loved the "sleeping" porch at her Skokie house.
43. That house is SOOOO much smaller than I remember it.
44. She used to take me to the bakery after church every Sunday for a donut or pastry.
45. No wonder she was overweight.
46. She finally moved out to CA to be near her daughter in the 1970s.
47. I used to visit her at the assisted living place.
48. Her eyesight was horrible.
49. And she had cataracts.
50. And glaucoma.
51. Her eyedrops were always in the door of the refrigerator.
52. Her apartment never smelled very good.
53. She loved Jimmy Dean Sausage.
54. Mom and I would eat lunch with her at Marie Callendars.
55. She would always order the clubhouse sandwich.
56. Or was that my mom?
57. She loved my husband.
58. My mother didn't.
59. Reactions related? maybe.
60. She liked polyester pant suits.
61. oh my god.
62. She was apparently married to a potential FBI agent.
63. My l'il sis knew that. I didn't.
64. She gets lots of little details out of people. (my sis, not my grandmother)
65. I would never have a drink of anything at my grandmother's place (later life)
66. Because she couldn't see very well, and never cleaned anything very well.
67. It grossed me out.
68. She liked to be called "Nan" by her grandkids.
69. She had a grandchild she never wanted to know.
70. It was my uncle's daughter.
71. Who had no relationship with her father.
72. My older sis and I met our cousin once. I don't think she (the cousin) was thrilled about it.
73. Neither was my grandmother. (or was she already dead? oooo, there's that time continuum problem again.)
74. I know she did not want us to meet our cousin.
75. She prayed the rosary every night.
76. She taught me how to pray the rosary.
77. In a very kid friendly way. I didn't have to say the mysteries and stuff.
78. I teased her about her laps around the beads.
79. She had enough of a sense of humor to laugh about that.
80. I miss her.

1 comment:

Lunasea said...

Yeah, I didn't know most of that. I do know she died at 82. And she was alive when we met Susan, because it wasn't that long after Unc's death. I was around 7 or 8 and I'm pretty sure I was just 12 or 13 when she died.

We never ate at Marie Callender's, but we did eat at that Country Kitchen across from ValleyFair in SJ. Mom ordered the club sandwich (or split it). Nan also liked chicken livers.

I had no idea about the money. I'm glad you were her favorite.