I remember sitting on my grandparents front porch. It was coffee break on the last day of my week long stay with Grandma and Grandpa. I sipped my lemonade from the orange plastic tumbler, while she and Grandpa drank their coffees. I sat one step down, between my grandmother's legs, while she brushed my hair dry in the summer sun. I didn't have what you would call pretty hair. My hair was wavy and coarse, a mousy shade of brown. To top it off, literally, I had a double crown, so it looked like I had a small squirrel on top of my head. Anyways, that day sitting in the sun, sipping lemonade, with Grandma, I felt pretty. I don't know if I have ever felt more loved.
I think about Grandma a lot but especially at this time of year. Yesterday would have been her 88th birthday, but that's not why autumn reminds me of her. Fall was Grandma's favourite season. Thinking of the fall, without thinking of Grandma would be like fall with out the brilliant colours, or fall without the crisp cool temperatures.
With apologies to all the rock stars in my life - my husband, my parents, my children, my best girl friends, I am going on record as saying my maternal Grandmother is my all time favourite person. If you met her, you'd know why.
She was born Angelina Tibando. Being of Italian descent during a war where Italy was your enemy, couldn't have been easy. Not one to hang her head in shame, Grandma signed up to help the war effort. It was her army girlfriends who renamed her Cora - but I'm not sure why. The army was where my grandparents met. Grandma had slipped and fallen into a mud puddle, and Grandpa helped her up. They were married six weeks later.
When I think of what love looks like, I think of my grandparents. They loved each other beyond words. You could feel their love when you were in the room with them. When Grandpa died, Grandma slipped their love letters in his front pocket. "Grandma," I said to her, "Why are you sending them with Grandpa? Don't you want to read them?" No, she wanted to send them with Grandpa, that way when she's gone, none of us would be able to snoop. I assumed that the letters were filled with cute little I love yous, but the way Grandma blushed told me I was wrong.
The other thing I remember about Grandpa's funeral, is that Grandma asked us not to wear black. She herself wore a yellow dress, the exact same shade as a Black Eyed Susan. Grandma was sad, but strong. I knew that she would miss my grandfather, but I also knew that she was going to be okay.
Of course she would be okay. She wasn't about to sit around and wait to die. Seriously, this is what she said to me when I remarked one visit that I thought it was neat that she was trying to root a rose she had been given.
I don't usually remember Grandma with sadness. I miss her, but I know she would want us to remember her in her yellow dress, laughing, trying new things and exploring her world.
|me and my pet squirrel.|
|grandma and I at the "falls"|
|a love beyond words.|