Last night was her birthday celebration. And I do mean celebration.
It's not every day that one turns eighty, people! And so I was
And yes. Effie is her real name. She hates it with a passion. As she puts it, her mother must have hated her to name her that. I think it's an adorable name.
She's my mother's mother, and I can totally see where both my and my mother's neuroses comes from. According to my cousins, all my aunts have the same issues too.
Oh yea, Grandma? She had six (SIX) daughters. Poor Grandpa - all he wanted was a son. He eventually gave up trying and settled for male dogs.
I love my Grandmom. She defines classy. She also defines 'strong-willed,' a trait that has been passed down through the generations. Even though she's a bit on the tough side (it's the Irish in her, I'm told), she always spoiled us.
I remember when I was little, she used to serve me these little ice cream cups. The type that were half chocolate, half vanilla, and had a little wooden spoon in the top.
I begged my mother to buy them, and she never did. She'd give me a bowl of chocolate/vanilla ice-cream, but I'd pout and throw a fit because IT WASN'T THE SAME AS GRANDMA'S.
I was a bitch like that.
She used to let me swim in her swimming pool, and eat as much candy as I wanted, and watch as much television as I could stomach. And it was because of her that I began my love affair with books.
I hardly ever get to see my grandparents anymore. When I was younger, we used to see them every few months - there was usually some reason to get together. In the spring we'd go to the country club and enjoy their annual picnic. I'd always be dressed up in some frilly thing (as would the rest of the cousins), and my best pat-and-leather shoes.
We'd ride the ponies and blow bubbles and cause all sorts of mischief and mayhem. Well, they caused mischief and mayhem. I was an angel.
Every Thanksgiving we'd attend the country club again. They would have it laid out buffet-style, and we'd pick and choose what we wanted. I was small then as well - I could barely see over the tops of the tables (I was a freakishly tiny child. I didn't hit five feet until I was in high-school). My cousins would run throughout the restaurant, but I never really connected with them. So, I would sit with my mother, or one of the aunts, or one of my Grandparents. I used to love to sit with my Grandpop - he was a wall of silent reassurance. He'd ruffle my hair, and give me his dessert (our little secret, he'd say).
In later years, they stopped going to the country club, and we started having the celebrations at my grandparent's house. However, as the years trickled by, things began to change. We dropped the Thanksgiving and spring get-togethers, and eventually we only met up with the extended family for Christmas. I began to look forward to Christmas, because I knew that on Christmas I'd get to see my grandparents.
My grandfather is a tall, strong man, who happens to be missing most of his hair. My grandmother is the love of his life, and even if she exasperates him to no end with her psychosis (it runs in the family, I'm told), he would do anything for her.
I saw this last night. I saw the love that was apparent in his eyes as he gazed at his wife - my Grandmother. He got up, gave a speech, and brought her to tears.
For once all the family drama was erased (and we've had our share of it the last few years).
For a moment, just a moment, it was like the old days.