Happy Birthday G-Ma!
My grandma has never read this blog, or used a computer, but tomorrow she turns 70 (she shares a b-day with Hitler in case anyone was wondering). All week long she has been on my mind.
She was born the oldest female of 7 kids. Her family was poor Southern folk, and her mother was addicted to drugs and mentally ill in a time when neither was discussed openly. She began working when she was a child, as a field worker for many different types of produce. To this day she will not eat figs because of a summer she worked in a fig packing house. She was in two major car accidents when she was young, and in one she lost a kidney. One accident happened the day she dyed her hair blonde and to this day when someone says "Blondes have more fun" she will laugh and then tell her story.
She got pregnant with my mother in high school and was forced to drop out of the 10th grade and marry her baby's daddy. She had 3 children with him, and eventually they divorced. I never met this man, and consider the man she remarried to be my grandfather. Throughout her life she worked hard, sometimes working for 16 hours a day. When she married my grandpa she was able to stop working and focus on her teenage children. With 3 teenagers in the house I bet there were days she wished she was back at work.
She is addicted to coffee and soap operas (her "stories") and as a baby she would give me coffee in my bottle and we would watch Guiding Light and As The World Turns.
She is an amazing cook and we always made great dishes when I went to visit her. Unfortunately the gene for great cooking was not passed down to me. I can remember being 4 or 5 years old and helping her make meatballs. Watching her put eggs, milk and meat together made me sick and I had to go lie down. It would be 23 years before I could make a meatball without feeling sick and she was the first person I called when I did it.
When I was 12 she got sick and divorced my grandpa. She moved in with my mom, and they have lived together for the last 17 years. Now being around them is a little like watching an episode of Golden Girls. When I was younger I liked having her in my home all the time. I mean, c'mon she makes cheesecake and tortes. As a teenager it was a drag because she was a light sleeper and she slept in the living room. I was never able to sneak out of the house.
Since getting sick all those years ago she has slowly become homebound. Now she will only travel to the grocery store, the drug store, or Walmart if she can get there at 6am. My greatest wish for her has always been better health. She is still addicted to coffee and soaps and I love talking to her about who Brooke and Ridge are seeing (The Bold And The Beautiful for those of you not in the know).
She loves cooking shows and the gardening channel but she mostly watches show on mute. I have never understood this, and it bugs me to death not to know what is happening when I visit, but I know she likes it.
She is also sure I am in a chronic state of starvation due to my student status, so every time I visit her she had a grocery bag full of rice, oatmeal, and eggs and top ramen. She makes care packages for her neighbors with things like pickles and jarred artichokes. She went through a phase of cooking weird dishes (like meatloaf that had whole hard boiled eggs in it) when I was in highschool. And about a year ago she made the now infamous Mayo Casserole (even a year later I feel sick thinking about it). You never know what you'll get with grandma, but her desserts still rock.
We are having a party for her tomorrow and I know it will piss her off because she hates being the center of attention. Happy B-day grandma.