Wednesday, March 19, 2008

As Promised: Blog About My Grandma

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of meeting Grandma Jean, let me preface this blog by informing you that Grandma suffers from Alzheimer's. That being said, let's take a moment to delve into the crazy world of Jean Smith.

Grandma Jean is almost 75, yet still gets carded when she requests a senior discount at the movies or restaurants. After briefly meeting my grandmother for the first time, my former roommate described her as a "total babe." Grandma Jean has looked exactly the same for my entire childhood and now that I am almost 21 (!!!), I still can't see a difference. She is like an immigrant version of Liza Minelli - ageless and more and more fantastic by the year.

As previously mentioned, my grandma is an immigrant. She came to America from Italy when she was really little and lived in Pennsylvania (which is now and will forever be referred to as "Back East") for most of her life. This first-generation upbringing lead to a mishmash of cultures at each family celebration. Regardless of the holiday, an array of Italian food will be offered in addition to the traditional dishes. Christmas usually involves prime rib alongside lasagna and gnocchi, Easter with ham and manicotti, and Thanksgiving with turkey and cioppino. In recent years my dad and his siblings have begun to take over the duties of cooking all the Italian foods, but regardless, it still makes me think of my grandma when I have to strategically arrange my turkey and cranberry sauce around a giant meatball in marinara sauce.

The best part about my grandma is that she still thinks she is living in the 1940's. After a recent trip to San Francisco with my mom to visit me, she slipped me a $5 bill and told me to "put it in my piggy bank." Later, while driving home, she proudly told my mom that she had given me "a little spending money." When my mom heard that is was $5, she told grandma that it was a very nice gesture and I could get a whole gallon of gas. My grandma's response: "Yes, she COULD get some gas!" What a gem.

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