I like to think my maternal Grandmother and I kindred spirits. I’m pretty sure she felt similarly – if not exactly – the same. When she passed away in 2008, I went numb. Finally in a fit of holiday/end of the year nostalgia for the first time since she passed, I pulled up her beautifully written eulogy (from a close friend and colleague when she was a college professor, who of course was kind enough to email it to us after the funeral) to revisit the key notes that made her the kick ass grandma I remembered. Her friend noted her: “selflessness, kindness, courage and delicious sense of humor.” And yes, I enjoy that he used the word “delicious.” He gave wonderful examples of each attribute as only a drama professor could. And wrapped the whole thing up with an eloquent bow: that basically so long as those attributes lived within us, so did she.
After all of the Christmas presents were opened at my mom’s house and the holiday meal consumed, I was hanging around with the family and Mom asked if I wanted to come look at some a Grandma’s recipes. For a long time this wasn’t possible without tears (mine became happy memories before mom’s did – I think this will always be raw for her). It felt like a surge of gladness to see her handwriting, flip though her clip books and wonder what appealed to her specifically from each recipe she compiled.
Even on a just a first blush through, I saw recipes for childhood treats I didn’t even remember until I read the recipe again. It was like being hit over the head and unlocking memories just reading them. How did I ever forget that one? I can’t wait to make it again.
And then in a move that referenced Grandma’s “selflessness, kindness and courage” Mom asked if I’d like to have them. Uh, yes! I know they are very dear to her as well, but she knows right now that I’ll make more use of them and revisit them often. She just asked that I flag any she needs to know about/try out. Can do.
Of course, I also asked for Grandma’s little bench she displayed them on in her kitchen so I could put them on my desk in the exact same arrangement (my kitchen is smaller – office it is!). The thought of just being able to look to my right and see the same arrangement of books I saw when I sat in her kitchen throughout my childhood is more than I can put into words – and the fact that a mix of recipes I remember and ones that are new to me, but hand-picked by my grandma is over the top.
To top it off, I was also gifted the loan of a few envelopes featuring my great-great grandmother’s recipes. Whoa! Old school.