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Love By Association

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Dear Grandma,

I made your Crummy Chicken recipe for dinner this Shabbos. It was a huge hit with all the Frummies.

I told the kids that it was my grandmother’s recipe.

MamaBear, z”l?
Grandma Rose, z”l?
Grandma Gussie, z”l
No. Grandma Selma.

I’m sorry that I haven’t done a better job sharing you, through stories, with them.

Sure, I was young when you died. Nearly five. But that isn’t a very good excuse for why I haven’t told them more about you. After all, I never knew Grandma Gussie (one of my great-grandmothers) or Grandma Rose (another of my great-grandmothers) but my children speak of them as though they have first-hand knowledge of their great-great-grandmothers.

My memories of you are few. Shaggy green rug in your living room. A candy dish that was always filled with Hershey’s miniatures. (A candy dish that, as it so happened, taught me the meaning of the very useful word, ungepatchke.) An unfortunate hair incident.

Mostly, though, I remember love. I wasn’t even a fully-formed person and you loved me. You loved me because you loved DadGiraffe and I was his daughter. That was all the reason you needed. We never had the luxury of a real relationship. I had MamaBear for thirty-nine years and she loved me despite knowing all of my faults. You never had that (dis)advantage. You loved me less for who I was meant to become and more for being an extension of you. That was enough reason for you.

And that’s what I told them.

I promised to do better. To have their ZaydeGiraffe (your precious boychikel is a zayde!!!) share his memories and stories so that they become incorporated into their collective memory. To talk about you more regularly so that you become a real, living person rather than just a faded photograph. To add you to the line-up of women who are their matriarchs.

Love always.


Oh, and one last thing, Grandma. I told them about the unfortunate hair incident…but it was only by way of introduction.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Saturday, 31 December 2011 11:44 pm

    love this…love YOU!

  2. Sunday, 1 January 2012 12:05 am

    ok love this and of course need the recipe!!!

  3. Sunday, 1 January 2012 9:20 am

    This is a wonderful way to start the new year, introducing your kids to the one “overlooked” grandparent. It’s not too late.

    And I need to do this too.

  4. Sunday, 1 January 2012 11:00 am

    I love your letter, might have to copy that idea! And the chicken recipe is intriguing–please post!

  5. the writ and the wrote permalink
    Sunday, 1 January 2012 12:30 pm

    Love this. It’s so awesome that your kids know their great (and beyond) grandparents. I wish my family were closer in that regard – I know nothing about my family.

  6. Sunday, 1 January 2012 3:32 pm

    Thank you for the nice post. I have a Grandma Selma. My teenager is named after her. She used to send us mandel bread every Chanukkah. Several years ago one of my cousins did a family recipe book as a gift for her mother, my aunt
    . It seemed nice at the time and has since become a treasure with all the family recipes in one place. The chicken looks delicious. Is there a recipe? Mahalo.

  7. DadGiraffe permalink
    Monday, 2 January 2012 7:12 am

    So much of the person I am is due to my mother, of blessed memory,pouring heart and soul into me. Her most salient quality was kindness. Frume Sarah, did you realize that this post was composed on her yahrzeit? I ask: Are there coincidences? Her memory is,indeed, a blessing.

  8. Wednesday, 4 January 2012 10:41 pm

    Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it and her. (And thanks for the comment you recently left on my blog.)


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