One Chance to Remember


(Editor’s Note: I’m working on a longer, autobiographical piece this winter. From time to time I’ll post findings from our family archives. The following was dated Dec. 11, 2010).

If I get this one chance to remember my maternal grandmother, what would I say?

That she was part of our family since my earliest remembrances.

That she encouraged me as her aunt had not encouraged her, that horrible instance when playing the piano would never be possible.

That she worked as a seamstress into her 80s and worked hard in what we would call menial positions.

That she reaped the benefits of the social programs of FDR and because of them, was able to live on her own until finally she had to go to the Kahl home, a place she had worked earlier in her life, to be tended by the Catholic charities for whom she had also worked.

That she had suggestions for how to life my life, but they were neither mandates, nor things I would not do willingly.

That she had become a part of my life, incorporated into my being like mixing pancake batter.

That she would come to adore her great granddaughter and be the first to offer her a piece of meat at a family meal.

That she would be sorely missed when she died while we lived in the Calumet.