Tuesday, September 26, 2006


My Grandma passed away this weekend. I have not had much to say yet this year, and I'm not sure this is the right place to say all this. But I find myself trapped on the wrong side of the country and unable to be with my family during this time, so I want to talk to someone. Even if it's the internet.

My Grandma loved chocolate so much, she would bring our family a small bag of M&M's to share amongst the four of us when she came to visit, and then would have another bag she kept hidden in her purse so she had her own stash. I used to call her after exceptionally good chocolate desserts. When my palate refined, she introduced me to See's chocolate covered ginger, which remains one of my favorite indulgences.

My Grandma would make a horrified gasping sound whenever she heard bad grammar. She came with me and my mother to a "Why you should go to Brown" session in LA my senior year of high school. When the alumni speaker (in the midst of explaining that Brown was intellectually superior to other schools no less) leaned over the podium and said, "... and between you and I...." she turned to me making that noise and stage whispered, "Well, you're not going to that school."

My Grandma went to college when she was just 16 years old, and was the women's editor of the college newspaper at the University of Chicago. Until her final years, she remained one of the sharpest people I knew.

My Grandma made the best butter cookies in the whole world. They were irregularly shaped and thin and crumbled all over the place when she mailed them to me at camp (after a letter from me indicated that I missed her almost as much as I missed said cookies), but they were the best.

My Grandma told me I had the most beautiful eyebrows she had ever seen almost every time I saw her.

My Grandma let me and my brother eat asparagus with our fingers at her house. She had this funny way of sometimes shrugging and making a little sound that indicated, "What the hell!" in a more proper way. I still remember her picking up her asparagus with her fingers, Ross and me looking at her in shock, and her making the shrug and the sound. It was like Mardi Gras.

My Grandma took classes on current events and literature in her latet years, and was always reading something interesting. We would talk about books and what her latest class was covering.

My Grandma outlived everyone in her family by at least 20 years. She used to tell us that she had no role model for living as long as she did (she was 92). It was very hard to watch her as this bright and refined woman lost her edge and had to depend on other people. I'm trying to remember as the woman I used to drive up and visit for the weekend when I was in high school because she was so much fun and we were so close.

My Grandma was funny, loving, and brilliant. I think my mother and I both get our edgy sense of humor from her, and I only hope I have a little bit of her wisdom and grace. I miss her very much.


Anonymous Judith K.Boyer said...

I can no longer be just a reader/voyeur. Your tribute to your beloved Grandma has me choking back tears and I want to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I think you already know and appreciate how fortunate you were to have a grandmother, friend, teacher, and loving supporter in your life. Your grandma, too,was equally blessed by your presence in her life. I know that you will continue to keep her memory alive through your perceptive thoughts, witty and intuitive writing, and the nurturing of memories. Love, Judy B

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Jack H said...

Julie, that was a moving tribute to your grandma. She sounds like an amazing woman who lived a very full life, and I'm sure she was incredibly proud of you. My deepest sympathies on your loss. --Jack

6:15 PM  
Blogger Suds said...

My thoughts are with you and your family. I am certain that your Grandma knows how much you cherish her. She is a remarkable woman and I am sure that she loved every minute of your company as well....and you do have lovely eyebrows.

I wish I had a chance to meet her and discuss all things chocolate. I am sure she would have corrected my English on numerous occasions and I would have been better off for it...Suds

6:51 PM  
Anonymous Mary Rothschild said...

Dear Julie, I am so sorry to hear about your Grandma! I know how much you love her and remember trading stories about her and Sasha the first time we met, waiting for Sasha to finish his triathalon. Of course you are sad! There is no one remotely like a beloved grandparent, no one who fits that mold and makes such wonderful memories. You have written such a loving tribute and I am sure she always knew how much you loved her.

Please know how much I would like to hug you and tell you to keep remembering all those wonderful things your Grandma did for you! And please tell all of your family how very sorry I am for their loss. You can expect some See's ginger in the near future. Much love, Mary

3:20 AM  

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