I remember when I was a little girl, my grandmother, my mother’s mother, lived blocks from my house, and many days my mother would leave me and my brother in her care.
I remember playing casino and pisha pasha – a card game that no one in our family can remember how to play and no one else in the world remembers as a game.
I remember going to her pool club, where I’d watch her play mahjong while eating cut up pieces of sweet, drippy cantaloupe.
I remember her refrigerator always had layered parfaits of Jello and cool whip, or it might have been pudding and whipped cream, but I think it was Jello. Could have been both.
I remember bananas, pretty little cups with flowers on them and stories of magic.
I remember beautiful holiday dinners and Shabbat candles.
I remember the whole family going out on Sundays for Chinese food and her ordering Subgum Chicken.
I remember singing, “Oh I won’t go to Macy’s any more, more, more…” and “In Bloomingdale’s Department store, you check them on the second floor…” Clearly, the connection between Jewish women and shopping runs deep.
I remember sitting on her front porch, and as you could in Brooklyn, climbing over to the next porch and the one after that.
I remember playing Red light, Green light, One Two Three and Mother May I?
I remember rocky road ice cream was her favorite flavor.
I remember me being a bit snarky and insensitive, and really not all that nice.
I remember her getting sick.
I remember her dying.
I was 13, when it happened. I remember being so confused and uncomfortable at her funeral, my first real death. I curled in a ball on a chair and cried.
That’s really all I remember, little vignettes, snippets of truth that have been tenderized by age. I only had her a short while, and I regret not being mature enough to listen, learn or appreciate. I regret childish behavior that can never be resolved. I regret not hugging more. I regret being only 13 when she passed, and not having had her for 42 years like I did with my father’s mother. I regret not getting to love her more, to have built a relationship, to really know who she was.
I regret that I can only remember what I remember, and it isn’t nearly enough.