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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Grandma Ana

Grandma Ana
Originally uploaded by Foodmomiac.
This is my Grandma Ana. I don't know that I've mentioned her before, but she and I are kindred spirits. I am so like her in personality (disagreeable, opinionated, well-read) and share so many of the same interests. She is the reason I love food. She is the reason I love travel. My first trip to Paris was with my grandma. I was 15.

We stayed at a little hotel on the right bank called the Duminy Vendome. Every morning we'd wake up (late, of course - she and I like to sleep in), and order in room service. You see, Grandma Ana refuses to face the world without first having her cup of coffee. And back then she needed her first cigarette too. I inherited that coffee thing. Just ask Dylan.

Grandma Ana will be 94 this August. And this week, she moved into a nursing home. She is devastated, but it was clearly time. After a scary bout with dehydration (did you know that dehydration can look like a stroke?), we realized that part time care in her apartment just wasn't sufficient.

Grandma Ana has been living in the same, tiny studio apartment on the Upper West Side for my whole life. It is filled with plants and photos and books. Literally filled. The thing she was most upset about was leaving all of her things, especially her books. My mom, my cousins, my brother and I are going to be going through all of her stuff this summer and figuring out who gets what. It's kind of nice to do this now, while she is alive. I can't imagine the pain of sorting through her possessions while dealing with the devastation of losing her. This way, she knows who is getting what, and she can share stories about the items. My Grandma Ana is filled with stories.

My brother and I live farther away than any of the other family members, so it is going to be hardest for us. Luckily for me, my grandma has already decided that I will be getting the cookbooks. She asked that I think about the other items she has and let her know what else I want. What a hard task. All week I've been thinking about my grandma, and her apartment, and about the items that have filled it all these years. Which possessions are most evocative of my grandma? Which do I want to take into MY home and share with Dylie and Max?


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