Today would have been my grandmother’s birthday.
She passed away when I was in high school, and I still miss her so much. She was the kindest, sweetest woman, who remained big-hearted even throughout some big losses and a difficult life, but you can do that when you have a big, loving family and are surrounded by six sisters who are more like best friends and four brothers who look out for you.
I remember when we were little, and my grandmother decided to teach us how to make mini pizzas in pie tins. It was total chaos as my sister, my cousin John and I (all under 8 years old) spastically prepared our pizzas, as clumsy as kids can be with dropping sauce on the floor and mozzarella flying everywhere, with Grammy trying to hold it all together. That was my very first cooking experience, and I remember how proud I was when my misshapen, half-cheesed little pizza came out of the oven. I have all of her recipes now, along with some of her furniture, and since she was a member/founder of the Butterfly Club, I beam whenever I see a butterfly. Today, I’ll go over to my parents’ house where my grandmother’s peach tree — which is *still* producing edible peaches (such trees are not supposed to be able to do that after eight years, and it’s been almost 20) — graces the corner of the yard, to touch the branches and think about her for a while. She would absolutely * love* Joe…she’d be cooking for him every day, sending home packages of meatballs and chicken parmigiana, pasta fagioli, soup — just like my mother does for us now. She was one of the good ones on this earth… I’m super-close with her sister, my great-aunt Millie, who has become like a grandmother to me (although I’m not sure she appreciates having a 38 year-old granddaughter!) so I’ll talk with Aunt Mil later this morning. This won’t be a working day. My parents gave me a dozen empty Poland Spring boxes, so I’m packing up everything in my kitchen except a few dishes and a spatula and a pizza cutting wheel. Good to have priorities 😉 And my grandmother’s rolling pin, sauce spoon, and other treasures will come with us to the new house, where we’ll use them to make pizzas as one of our first meals. Joe had mentioned a while back that we should make homemade pizzas sometime, and that made me smile when he said that. It’s one of the many snapshots I’ve imagined for our new home, which takes away every ounce of nerves about the big move. We’re going to be so happy there. It’s going to be a home filled with love. And great pizza.
Happy birthday, Grammy. I miss you very much.