On 12/25/14, my grandmother died. My mother got the call as we were pulling up to my uncle's house for Christmas dinner.
I've been thinking for a week about how to say something about her and her place in the world, like I did for my grandpa earlier this year, but it's much harder to do this for her. With my grandpa, I could, and can (and somtimes do) talk about his idosincratic behavior and his contracictory nature for ever. Everything with him was right on the surface and very little was held back.
She was different. She was kind and cared for everyone, maybe even everything. (Not snails, so much, because they ate her plants.) That kindness the simple way she showed it was who she was.
Which isn't to say she was a simple woman. How could she be simple? She was my grandma.
She was born in the USA, the daughter of immigrants.
She and her best friend couldn't eat lunch at Woolworths because the lunch counter there wouldn't serve colored people. They had to walk downtown to the Jewish deli and did that every day.
She never learned how to swim. She had a bathing suit and would come into the water with us, but she'd never go in past her hips. She enjoyed just wading, she said. As a kid it always concerned me that she never learned and, when I asked, she said she wasn't going to learn. Now that I'm older I wonder if she was scared.
She loved playing games. Cards and board, mostly. She introduced the family to Spite and Malice and when she got going she'd let out a wheeee and when things weren't going so well she'd put hexes on the other players and circle her chair for luck.
She'd take my brothers and me to the mall and we'd all just browse. There was nothing we needed, but it was always fun just looking.
Everyone she met she treated as an old friend. She called everyone darlin' and meant it.