I've been waiting a while to write this because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to say and then I realized that I don't think I will ever be able to express exactly how I feel in words but I'm going to give it a try anyway. The picture you see above is a circa 1940's picture of my grandma Esther Grande who we sadly passed away not too long ago. I'm write this post as a tribute to her.
Esther was born on May 9th 1921 the small town of Grove City, Pennsylvania two 2 Italian immigrant parents. She went to school and eventually became a beautician because that's what one of her older sisters did and according to her mother, that is what she should do as well even though she was totally against it.
Later she moved to Pittsburgh and began to work there eventually meeting my grandfather and moving to his town of Trafford, Pennsylvania.
One of the great things about my grandma was that she was not your average 1950's woman, she worked both inside the house doing hair as well as outside the house at other jobs. When her, my grandfather, uncle, and mother lived in an apartment, she was the one that decided it was time for a change. So even though my grandfather was perfectly happy with apartment living, she took it upon herself to buy property and build a house! Wow, talk about ballsy for the 1950's! :-)
Eventually my brother and I came around and that is when she changed her life once again. She devoted many many days not only watching my brother and I, but really making sure we had a great time each and every day we were with her, and with two parents working full-time, that was a lot! The three of us, my grandma, brother, and I, would do just about everything together. Go out to eat (our favorite was always Ponderosa!), play Rummy-O, watch movies, going to the mall, etc. There were lots of times where we would also get special surprises like getting to ride the bus to Turtle Creek for lunch, and if we were really lucky a trip to Downtown or Oakland for the day.
When we were board, she even came up with great ideas to entertain us, and you know what? We really did enjoy doing these crazy things. One was to go to the park and find "lucky stones" as she would call them (smooth round stones). My brother and I would get tons of them trying to outdo each other and then when we were done with that she would say, okay now let's take them home and wash them to see who can make them shine the best! haha. She even baked with us and taught us to crochet ropes. "Whoever makes the longest rope wins!" We would be busy for hours with that. I still blame her to this day every time people ask me why I like to shop and bake.
As we got older, there was no longer a need for her to watch us every day but that did not stop her from making special surprise visits from time to time. I can remember lots of days when we would be walking home from middle school and there would be her car at the end of the school path and she would say "come on, I'm taking you kids out to eat." She never missed an event, baseball, basketball, recitals, graduations, she was at every single one and one of the proudest people in the room.
In her later years she was still pretty amazing. I would sometimes tease my parents saying "Meem does way more than you guys!" She went dancing almost weekly well into her 80s, won at bingo and slot machines like no other (I swear she had to have rigged it somehow to be as lucky as she was), and enjoyed life to the fullest.
At the age of 92 she peacefully passed away at her assisted living community call Nature Park Commons. While it was a shock to all of us since she was not really sick and still in great spirits, it was her time and she was ready for it.
What wonderful memories I have with her that I will cherish for a lifetime. She was one of the closest people to me that I ever had. Sometimes I still even think: "I'm gonna call Meem" and then sadly remember that I can't. But, life is finite and everyone has their time. I am just really glad that I got to spend so many wonderful years with her.
I love you Meem!!