memories of Mary

I don’t know how to start this without going full depressive on you guys so just bear with me. Yesterday marked 16 years since my grandma passed away. It was in the back of my mind all day and I waffled back and forth if I wanted to write anything. Some things are just personal, ya know?

Anyway, she’s gone 16 years which means I’ve known life without her longer than I knew life with her. (sorry, that went a little heavier than i anticipated). Luckily, the 13 years I did get with her provided me with so many memories.

Like the time when I was about 9 and my cousin was about 7 and we had a sleepover at Grandma Mary’s house. My grandmother was a night owl. She used to stay up late and get up late. In the morning, we decided that we weren’t going to eat the cereal that was left out for us. Nope. We decided that we needed to make pancakes. We were flipping our first cake over, and thought we were in the clear, when my grandmother stormed into the kitchen, hours before she should have been up. She yelled at us for using the stove without her, that it was dangerous. We tried to tell her we had it under control, but we knew we weren’t getting away with this one. It was the first and last time any of us got yelled at by her. To this day, my cousin and I say that those were the worst pancakes we’ve ever eaten.

Or when I would spend quality alone time with her. We would walk over to the shopping center near her house. We would get a slice of grandma (fresh tomato, fresh mozzarella, and fresh garlic. omgggg) pizza and a Cappuccino Blast from Baskin Robbins. We’d sit at her dining room table, the right way – faced front, knees under the table, eating and talking.

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She loved Mallomars and Chinese food. not together, of course.

She wouldn’t drink coffee from a styrofoam cup because it made the coffee”taste different” so she carried a real mug in her purse, just in case.

She had this thing about not being able to watch shows where she felt the main character was ugly. For example, she wouldn’t watch Law and Order SVU because of Mariska Hargitay. My mom can’t watch Giada DeLaurentis for the same reason (“her mouth. there’s something off about her mouth and i can’t watch her!“)

I could still hear her saying “oh. what a sin” when something was unfortunate. Like, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds dying a day apart:  ohhh. *sigh* what a sin *shakes head*

When she gave THE LOOK, the world stopped. THE LOOK means business. Luckily for me and my cousins, she passed it down to my mom and her siblings.

She was feisty, our own little Sophia Petrillo. One of my favorite memories of my grandma goes like this. When I was in elementary school, if the weather was bad or if it was too cold for us to be outside, we were dropped off in the school’s auditorium. My mom needed my grandma to take me to school for a few days, for whatever reason. The door of the auditorium was manned by one of the moms from the PTA who took no shit (i would be in so much trouble for using that word) guff. You dropped your kid off, waved and left. #byefelicia. I was a nervous kid and liked to look back to see if my mom was still there. She never was because the door mom would ask her to leave after I was with my class. The first day my grandmother dropped me off, I looked back once and she was still there, waving and smiling. I looked back again and saw her little head looking for me over the crowds. We made eye contact and she waved. She was able to stay until we were taken to our classroom by our teacher. I don’t know how she did it but I like to imagine that she either told the door mom that she wasn’t leaving or she found a space where she went unnoticed, making her totally able to buck the system.

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She was an excellent cook. My mom has almost perfected her eggplant parmigiana. I say almost because hers will never be my grandma’s and mine will never be my mom’s.

She liked The Price is Right. Plinko was her favorite game. They don’t play it often, but if I catch it when they do, it makes me smile.

She hated surprise parties if they were thrown in her honor. My mom threw her one for her 60th birthday and she didn’t speak to her for a month afterward. I told you-  feisty.

As I get older and as they get older, I see A LOT of my grandma in my mom and her siblings. Sometimes it’s a little thing, like how my mom says parlor (i have to get to the beauty paaahla, my hair is a mess!), or when my uncle starts talking to himself and makes thinking noises. Sometimes it’s the feeling in the pit of my stomach when either I get or I see my cousins get THE LOOK. Either way, it always makes me smile.

I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I got to spend more time with her. I’d probably curse less, know how to cook more. I’d probably do more word search puzzles to unwind while watching Jeopardy, who knows.

To wrap up, I miss this little lady all the time. My mom told me once that after my grandfather died, my grandma went to a bereavement group. They all went around the room saying how as time passes it gets easier. When it was her turn my grandmother told the room that it definitely does not get easier. As a matter of fact, it gets harder. Boy, was she right.

Thanks for listening!

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