Comfort Food: Remembering My Grandmother

2007-DEC-30
Grandma Helen with my nephew Ben and my daughters Ruby and Ella in 2007.

Leaning forward in the backseat of the taxi, nose pressed against the window, my breath fogging it up with each exhale. No car seats, no seatbelts, the bare-bones car rattling along FDR Drive, the East River black and glassy on the left, the enormous red and white Coca-Cola sign forever winking just across the water. The mid-morning sky is wintry gray, solid and low – nothing like the sun-kissed blue of my now home thousands of miles away in the southern hemisphere. Apartment buildings rise high one after the other. Green and white streets signs whip by: E. Houston, Delancey, Grand.

It’s 1975 and we are back in the States on Home Leave, the official company term for the six weeks we take at the end of each year to travel the world and visit family back in the U.S. Home. Leave. We are both coming and going, leaving and arriving, traveling between our temporary and forever homes, each anchored at one end of the world. Continue reading “Comfort Food: Remembering My Grandmother”

Remembering My Grandpa, Latkes in Bermuda and a Dash of Nutmeg

We are in Bermuda on vacation with my grandparents. This is the first and only time we will vacation with them. My grandpa is sick. Is it lung cancer? Kidney failure? I can’t remember what will lay him to rest within the year.

We spend mornings on the beach, rocky outcrops shielding us from the big waves. My dad and I explore the tide pools left behind in the crags and dips while my mom and grandma sit in low, folding chairs watching my two-year-old sister play in the sand, her diaper warm and soggy. My mom wears a wide, brightly colored fabric headband and huge, bug-eyed sunglasses. My grandma has her signature shmata on her head, a white triangular kerchief that keeps her hairdo in place. Continue reading “Remembering My Grandpa, Latkes in Bermuda and a Dash of Nutmeg”

Writing My Way Through the End of the Year

The end of any given year is busy, no question. There are loose ends to be tied, emotional overwhelm and physical exhaustion — Shopping! Parties! Cooking! There is family to visit or host and gifts to be given and received. There are copious amounts of comfort food, sweets and warm-your-stomach drinks. There is merry, happy and joyous to embrace and also, for me, the possibility of falling under Melancholy’s gentle, blue spell.

When life gets chaotic for me, I tend to move my writing to the back-burner. I take on more tangible, simpler tasks that “need” to be done, like wrapping presents, making beds (oh, how I love a made bed), plumping pillows and replenishing the soap dispensers. This sort of detachment is usually how I deal with the last few weeks of the year, willing January 1 to come as quickly as possible. Last year, though, I did not abandon myself or my words. As difficult and tangly and not-pretty as it was, I dove into writing as much as possible. I started by signing up for Kat McNally’s Reverb December Daily Prompt. Continue reading “Writing My Way Through the End of the Year”