December 2016

Memories of a Grandmother and the Holidays

There is a lot of current news about Reverse loans and it’s all positive but I thought that given it’s Christmas and Hanukkah,  I would share a sweet memory about a Grandmother.

“I Wore My Grandmother’s Ring”

Written by Tami Podell

Assisted Living Connections – 818-357-1123

Yesterday, I wore my Grandmother’s ring. This may not seem very noteworthy. It’s a beautiful ring – old-fashioned, big and clunky.  I’m not a ring-wearer and for a wedding band, I normally wear a very light, slim band.

But on this day, I was inspired to wear Grandma’s ring because of memories that stirred within me while stirring my morning coffee.

When I was a child, rain or shine, we visited my Grandma Rosenbloom, my father’s mother. My father would be 94 years old today, and he and his brother were raised alone by my Grandma during the depression.

His mother was resourceful and taught her boys well, and he loved her and felt duty bound to her his entire life. Hence, the weekly Sunday visits to Grandma, who lived on Venice Beach in the Cadillac Hotel – a Senior Residence building of studio apartments.

Grandma was lucky to have a private bathroom and didn’t have to walk down the musty hallways to the communal bathroom.

This “hotel” had elevators reminiscent of old Alfred Hitchcock movies, and a
four story winding staircase with a very long drop down the center of the building, where my brothers and I used to look down and throw bits of paper or thread, watching the little bits take their long, floaty journey down the abyss.

My middle brother, Rick, would take me for walks to P.O.P ( I never knew that stood for Pacific Ocean Park ), an abandoned and spooky amusement park at that time.

We would cross the street to the newer apartment buildings, where there was a small convenience store in the lobby. My brother would buy me red  licorice or chocolates ( I loved the cherry-filled chocolates) and all of this was part of growing a very close bond as we grew up.

When we walked back to Grandma’s, I would lay down on her little single bed and fall asleep to the murmur of all the chatter and discussion going on in her small apartment.

I remember the warmth and fragrant smells of my father’s cooking onions and eggs to eat with bagels, lox and cream cheese.

When the dishes were all cleaned and dried and I had awoken, Grandma would put on her wool overcoat ( it could be August- it didn’t matter ), and come downstairs and outside to the beachfront boardwalk.

All the older people were sitting on benches wrapped in their coats, jackets and scarves while the young people whizzed past on their roller blades with thrumming music, drums and wearing bikinis ( this WAS the ‘60’s – the age of psychedelics.)

While I didn’t always look forward to going to Grandma’s… I didn’t enjoy those big, smoochy, lip-sticked kisses on my little face…. those days come back to me as happy memories.

And after my Grandmother’s passing, I somehow always felt like her spirit was especially watching out for me.

As a grown-up, I believe that this may really be true. Grandma never really shared her “Spirituality” with me, but from my older brother, I know that it was there – privately – just like mine.  And I believe it makes a difference and is transmitted – the prayers reaching through generations.

My husband and I have joked about our lack of religious upbringing, he kidding around about how there was a ham at one end and a challah at the other end of the table during the Passover Seder.  My retort, “at least you had a Passover Seder.”

But now, being connected to my roots is one of the most important aspects of my life. And I believe it may have happened because of my Grandma’s private prayers.

I feel like I am strengthened by the hardships and resilience of both my immediate ancestors, as well as, my very distant ancestors.

One example of growth through adversity would be the story of my father  looking for food and finding empty cupboards as a child.

Yet on Fridays, he was always sent down to the butcher to get two chickens – one whole chicken each for himself and his brother for their special Friday night dinner.

(As for my “distant ancestors”, our forefathers and foremothers for all their lives had challenges that developed and demonstrated their character. Hopefully, they have passed along their ‘spiritual DNA.”  )

I could go on and on, but in short, these memories bring to mind how important it is that in this fast-paced world, where we live in a society where everything is disposable and/or becomes obsolete, it is important to stay connected to our parents and grandparents.

We are all connected and each of us is a link from the past to the future.  Rich traditions and rituals like Sunday visits to ‘Grandma on the beach’ create an anchor rooted in feeling loved and protected, and that provides us with the strength and faith to move forward and believe in ourselves to face the challenges in life.

It gives us the endurance to pass this sort of unselfish commitment to our children and hopefully to our grandchildren as well.

This is family, and this is what builds up a society.

So, posthumously, “ Thanks Dad for always making us go visit Grandma every Sunday.”

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