Posts in Our Grandmother's Stories
Secrets for My Abuelita

For months after my abuelita died, I slept with the covers tucked around my six-year-old face. The breeze that blew in from the Caribbean, cooling along the way as it traveled across the mountains, through the concrete city of Caracas, past the iron bars of my bedroom window, entering my mouth, my nose, my ears, felt like something my grandmother had sent from above, just for me. It scared me.

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The Royalty of Brooklyn

Grandma Helen was my fancy grandmother. Born in 1909, she was the firstborn child of Julius and Mary Nelson’s five children and her tall, blue-eyed father liked to tell her that her birth brought him luck. After Grandma arrived, Julius went from selling newspapers in Harlem to learning the trade in his wife’s family’s coat business. A quick study, he started his own successful women’s coat business using the profits to invest in real estate. Eventually, in 1931, Julius developed one of Manhattan’s first skyscrapers, a 46-story art deco tower designed by architect H. Craig Severance.

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Grammer

Summer bore down hard - distorting the asphalt along with my mood. I damned the weather as it must’ve been close to one hundred degrees. My dogs, trying to cool themselves unfurled their pink tongues and panted. “Almost home,” I said to them. I kneeled down under the shade of a tall flowering tree to stroke their fur, and noticed a familiar looking leaf on the sidewalk. Picking it up I rubbed it between my fingers. The smells of burnt charcoal, fruit rotting on hot asphalt, aromas of Double Delight and Mister Lincoln roses, twirling sprinklers watering yellowing lawns were nauseatingly intoxicating, and brought me right back to my grandmother’s house.

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Season of the Grandmother

A few years ago, I broke the top on my flour canister. Today, I compounded the error while making bread, having split the sugar canister’s lid as well. This may seem trivial, but the containers are pewter-colored metal and large enough to hold more than regular-sized containers each—the kind you can’t run to Home Goods or Belk and replace. More importantly, they belonged to my grandmother.

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The Amie Project

We all lose people we love, and in my experience, there are so many things I wish I could have asked but never got the chance to. So, I dedicated an afternoon to asking my grandmother – who raised three kids, saw a good chunk of the world, was a military wife and then found herself raising me in retirement – some questions that I can cherish forever. I also took the opportunity to take some pictures of her house, a time capsule that has barely changed in my life. It turned out to be an incredibly emotional moment for me when I sat down later on and listened to her answers. I hope you enjoy this glimpse into her life.

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Grandma Rice: The Embodiment of Grace, Kindness, and Love

Evelyn Grace Swearman-Rice was my great-grandmother. Everyone in my family knew her simply as Grandma Rice. Everyone who knew her, including myself remember her as a sweet, gentle woman who loved everyone that she met. She always had something nice to say, and you never heard her swear. She’d give you her shoulder to cry on, a kiss to make you feel better and a whole mess of candy even if you weren’t supposed to eat any!

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Grandma Shoe's Story

On October 24, 2015 my grandmother, Virginia Shoemaker, turned 90. We had a huge celebration, with her family coming home from all across the US. She was over the moon thrilled. She loved being the center of attention and even more she loved being around so many people that she hardly ever gets to see. The day of her birthday she told me that she didn’t sleep a wink the night before because she was just so excited.

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