A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Monday, March 26, 2007

What the Hella You Want?

I saw a blog today from an 88-year old woman who lives in San Francisco. 88!!! I find that quite awesome. Of course, today she was badmouthing my generation (the Baby Boomers) and all the hoopla about us turning 60 - but I can forgive her that!

My great-grandmother was 88 when she passed away. Can't imagine her using a computer - the tv and telephone were about as high tech as she got. And this was in the days before push-button phones and remote controls! Grandma had 16 kids (3 sets of twins in a row) and three husbands. The first one died, the second one, well, no one's sure, and the third one died. She may have been a bigamist, but what the heck. With 16 kids she had enough to worry about without dealing with marriage laws!

Grandma was the stereotypical old Italian woman - about 4' 9" tall, white hair pulled back in a bun with a hair net over it, ALWAYS wore an apron (even to church), had nylons rolled down to just above her knee, one gold tooth, very heavy accent, and an intense love of family. She was small, but no one messed with her family and lived to tell about it!! She baked bread, made wine, made pasta (although we called it "macaroni"), baked cookies, had a garden and chickens, and loved her soap operas. My mom called Grandma one day and Grandma was crying. Mom said, "What's wrong?" Grandma said, "Peggy was in a car accident and they don't know if she'll live!" Mom started to get upset until she realized we didn't have a relative named Peggy - that's when she figured out it was a character on General Hospital!

But the soaps did cause her a few problems - like the day she was eating a slice of bread with peanut butter on it, the phone rang, and she was so distracted that she put the bread (peanut butter side up) against her ear instead of the phone! Not pretty! If you called her at a really bad time, she would answer the phone saying, "What the hella you want?!?" She loved the actor "Humpity Bogart" and listened to a lot of Perry Como records. Her house in Tucson was very small, but we managed to squeeze about 40 people into it every Christmas Eve. She wouldn't have it any other way!

Grandma had a stroke about two weeks before I had my twins. I delivered Jenni and Joe in the same hospital and one of my aunts took the babies up to see Grandma. Hopefully on some level she heard them and knew that there was a new set of twins in the family - she would have loved that! I wish my kids could have known her - she was an amazing woman.


Arlene said...

She sounds like an amazing and funny woman! And so many kids....on my goodness!! I love hearing about your family :-)

Jenni said...

I wish we could have known her too. She sounds like such a spitfire.

ba and the boys said...

im connecting from the 2008 christmas memory post.
the hair and the nylons...so my great grandma! mine lived until she was 85.