My grandma is the only person I know who is both up early and eager for guests before 10am.
So that Tuesday morning when I woke up and wanted to
talk with listen to the funniest / inspiring / tear wrenching / adorable / factual / downright crazy stories of my Italian grandmother, I drove over to her house.
When I arrived she was still in her bathrobe, and was sitting in her chair near the window, a bowl of peaches on the table to her left. She turned her head to look at me as I entered the sitting room and smiled that genuine smile of gratitude and happiness that only grandmothers seem to have.
Did I ever mention how much I love genuinely nice, happy people? Maybe that’s why I choose to share my precious morning hours with my grandma of 92 years.
It was the first time I had visited her since returning from college and so there was much to talk about. Not necessarily in order of importance, below are the subjects of conversation that filled the room, my heart, and the morning.
- the Italian cookbook in her bedroom that she wanted to give me (which I gladly took, of course)
- my babysitting experience from the week before
- her babysitting experience as a teen (she got paid with a fudge pop, not cash)
- the time someone tried to pay her 34 cents to set a sleeve in a men’s jacket (a stingy compensation especially considering the context of the war)
- the extra 6-pack of paper towels she accidentally ordered from Peapod and hence needed to give my mother since she had no use for them
- the beauty of the Sicilian dialect, and the story (that I was hearing for the
thirdfourth[?] time) of her conversation with a group of little Sicilian children and their surprise at her knowledge of the dialect despite her American appearance
- her misunderstanding of the continued segregation of the South when she was there with her husband, and her mistake in sitting on the “black people’s” bus.
- the things I needed to see in Florence before I left.
- that there was something wrong with her refrigerator: the milk was spoiling after a day of sitting on the shelf. (In reality, it was because she had too much food in the fridge…)
Leaving my grandmas, I felt hopeful that when I was her age, I would remember the experiences of my youth with the clarity in which she remembered her own, and still be able to take life’s challenges in stride and with a chuckle. Being in her company allowed me to imbibe some of her cheerful spirit, and put the bounce in my step that carried me with a smile through the rest of the day.