Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nana Banana

Things I've learned from my grandmother:

Nan met my grandpa at a dance at the Lakeview. At first she thought it was the Commodore but then she corrected herself. She went with some girlfriends, one of them was a "Finn girl". Her family was from Finland. I asked.

You had to pay five cents per dance if you wanted to dance. They met in 1938 and got married in 1940. Back in the late 1930s a nickel would buy you: a jumbo size sliced loaf of bread, a pound of bananas, a bar of Camay soap, pork and beans, a head of lettuce.

And a dance. One that lasted a lifetime.

My grandpa came to the dance with a different girl. He mostly danced with my grandmother. He wanted to take her home but she told him, "No. You came with her. You take her home."

And then she gave him her number.

She wouldn't marry my grandpa until a year had passed after her mother died. She was in mourning. Does anyone do that anymore? You don't hear that too often today. 

They lived in three different apartments before they bought their first, and only, home. The first apartment was small and they outgrew it after their third child, my aunt N, was born. Their second apartment was owned by "the Greeks" - who wouldn't turn up the heat in the winter for them. Their last apartment was owned by my other grandparents. 

That's when my mom met my dad.

Shortly after that, Nan and Gramps moved to their first home. The one we're taking apart right now and getting ready to sell. She is so sad. She misses her home. 

I'm sad for her. I miss her home, too.

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I love hearing these stories and I had several hours to talk to Nan while we drove to the beach. I tell her how much she means to me and how much I love her. She tells me how much she loves me and how good I am to her . But you know what?

She was the best grandmother a girl could have growing up and she gave me more than I could ever give her back.

Love you, Nan.

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