When I was 8, Memorial Day at our house began as it always had-- in controlled chaos. As if by a call of revelry, our downstairs and upstairs doors swung open. Exiting from above was Grandma Rose, a little dumpling shaped woman, carting our picnic supplies down to our shared hallway. Like giant tin soldiers, Guardian-Ware cooking pots were lined up at the wall in size order. The tallest was a soup pot that reached my knees. It’s thick silvery bottom sat on a mat made of ice cubes wrapped in saran wrap and folded into a towel. Inside was potato salad made the night before for today’s picnic. The heaviest was the stew pot; squat, bumpy and chilled the same as its neighbor pots, but with its lid tied down by cotton cord. It made me giggle to see this metal man with his hat-lid and ear-handles wrapped like he had a toothache. Inside were dozens of chicken parts; drumsticks and thighs, breasts and wings all soaking up my Dad’s secret barbeque sauce*.Read More
One More Thing Before I Go
Last spring when the scent of lilacs followed me from the backyard into my kitchen, I thought of my mother’s distant cousin and her daughters, who, like my lilacs, visited yearly when the earth warmed and the days grew longer. I pictured us all in idyllic memories of jump rope games and playing with dolls. But, except for MaryAnn, the littlest daughter, I could not remember their names.
A few years ago, I could have called my mother. She would have teased me for my forgetfulness, asked what I was making for dinner (there was never a phone conversation where we didn’t talk about food) and repeated her mother-to-daughter mantra, “When are you coming over?” We would have shared stories of those long-ago days before hanging-up and re-joining our lives. But my mother has passed on and while the images of our family lingers-the details are lost. I write One more thing before I go, my living record for my son, in hope that one day, when he has a question I can no longer answer, it can be found in this blog.
If you read me, and I certainly hope you do, you already know I confess to being a girly-girl. I can’t throw a ball and really… why should I? I love the smell of lipstick, the feel of cashmere, and the sounds of a cooing baby. I cannot answer any Jeopardy sports questions-ever. I know the name of 1 team; the NY Mets. I want them to win every game they will ever play now and forever, not because I know their stats or the rules of baseball, but because I’m from Queens. Girly-girls are loyal.Read More
My childhood Easters on Thatford Avenue were observed like all Sundays with the addition of flowery hats, lacy gloves and copious amounts of chocolate. We began with lunch at Grandma Leslie’s. (Let me back up- her Sunday lunches were NOT sandwiches. They were roasted chickens or pan fried veal or lamb chops with ladled juices onto an alp of mashed potatoes and vegetables anointed in butter). After home-made peach cobbler slabs, we were on the road ready for dinner at Grandma Rose’s.Read More
By 2003, I was teaching the brightest little minds in America, owned my own home, travelled half way around the globe serving as NY Educational Envoy to Korea, married the man I loved and had a son I adored. Along with the good things came the bad; my father died suddenly, mom’s heart was failing, I battled pre-cancer and my beautiful son’s robust health was being eaten away by Chron’s disease.Read More