Wednesday, January 2, 2008

One hundred and two

My mother loves finding patterns in numbers, so this is for you, mom:

Today is January 2nd, 01/02. It would also have been my grandmother's 102nd birthday. Mind you, she didn't want it to be: after her 90th birthday she often told people what a shame it was that "they made you live so long," but she hung on to 99. She started out at 5 feet, half an inch, and by the end she was a tiny, wrinkled person, still pronouncing a few words in a Scottish accent (shoogar) despite having spent most of seven decades in this country.

I think the thing she was waiting for was to know that all of her children were grandparents. A week before she died, my cousin's baby girl was born and so all of her children had grandchildren. I think after that she felt like everything was set and she could go if she had to.

My grandmother taught me how to knit. Not how to purl, just how to knit. I figured out how to make stockinette stitch on my own (that would be "flat knitting instead of bumpy" to all of you non-knitters out there) and she assumed I'd figured out purling. Eventually, I did.

My grandmother was also my first correspondent. I was seven, and she gave me stationery with my name on it, and sometimes she would send me stamps.

She gave me a way into yarn and a way into words, a way into art, though she would not ever have called herself an artist.

She was Presbyterian. I broke with Jewish tradition and gave my daughter her name. I consider it the best decision of my life.


Magpie said...

Oh - what a nice paean to your grandmother.

niobe said...

Your grandmother's name was Z? Or maybe you mean Z's middle name?

S. said...

Niobe, you caught it!

My grandmother hated her first name and went by her second name her entire life--I gave Z. the same second name. But we call her Z.

kathy a. said...

what a beautiful set of memories.

susan said...

I love naming stories. And stationery! Your grandmother sounds quite cool.