Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Life is Amazing, and Time is a Thief
At the foot of my bed sits a pink and white afghan my grandma knitted me. She wanted me and my brother to each have one (his isn't pink). I clip my cat's claws partly to prolong the life of this blanket. I look at it, and I see my grandma Philomena knitting each stitch, and then I think of paste e fagioli in her kitchen in the summers when we'd stay with her in Cooperstown for Hall of Fame week every year. We'd pile on the grated Parmesan, and she would tell us how during he Depression, you could gauge how an Italian family was doing financially by the pasta::meat ratio in their paste e fagioli. More pasta, maybe not a good week. More meat, they were doing okay. Stories about how her father was a grocer in Toronto during the Depression, and the Irish girls who would wait outside the store for apple cores. And then I think of listening to Dean Martin with her, and watching reruns of "The Nanny," and the smell of the Nag Champa incense she'd light. All her outfits lined up on hangers in her closet, row after row of floaty floral sleeves. My mom's stories about how grandma tried sneaking butter into all my baby food. How surprised I was when I realized she grew up in Canada, that regular people actually grew up in Canada. How she'd give me $3 before I'd bike or walk downtown every day. How she swept leaves off our front walk when she stayed with us for a month when I was 10. The time in sixth grade when I interviewed her for history class and she told me about the day she married my grandpa, and how they had a full Mass, how handsome my grandpa looked in his army uniform and how the newspaper specified he was American in their wedding announcement. And how after my grandpa died she said she'd never remarry because she couldn't imagine becoming accustomed to another man, and another life. And the day she died, and then four years later going through all her things because my aunt, who she'd been living with, hadn't been able to bear to, and getting to know her all over again.