Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Measure a Life in Love

2009 will not go down as a particularly stellar year in my book. This June I lost my grandmother. Although she had been sick for some time, I never actually thought it would come to this because in my eyes my grandmother was an energetic bad ass. She would give me a light poke in the ribs and admonish me for using college language, but that is what she was to me.

My grandmother brought me to my first Broadway show when I was 15. It was RENT. I have used this blog several times to wax poetic about the special place the RENT has in my heart. That is even truer now. After seeing RENT that night we drove back to New Jersey and stopped at a classic diner at midnight to have NY style cheesecake, because to a girl from Colorado, that was extremely cool. Later that trip she and my Grandfather took me shopping in the East Village. My Grandfather would watch pick up basketball games while my Grandmother I ran in and out of punk looking stores picking up wild hair color, big chunky jewelry, wacky nail polish colors, pleather jackets and 5 inch platforms because NY is where you could find platforms shoes for big feet. We went to the Slaughtered Lamb pub and ate pumpkin ravioli next to a werewolf statue while Hellraiser played on the screens in the background. They took me to the TKTS stand in the World Trade Center and we got tickets to Miss Saigon. That vacation was amazing and my grandparents solidified their place as infinitely savvy and cool in my mind.

A few years later my brother joined me for another visit with them and we saw 1776 and Ragtime. As an extra bonus they took us to the Will Rogers Follies at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Shortly after this trip, my grandparents moved to Denver to be closer to all of us. This dramatically changed how we did holidays, as they were now spent at their house with many of my cousins, aunts, and uncles. We would have large, loud get togethers with enough food to feed several small armies.

My grandmother was with me during my senior year of high school when I went on a tour of UNC and the televisions in the common rooms and cafeterias were filled with news flashes of a school shooting in Littleton. We drove back Denver listening to the news updates on the radio and saying very little, because really, what was there to say?

When I went to college in Boulder my Grandmother and Grandfather would regularly come up to see me, take me out to eat, or pick me up for a weekend at their house where I would bogart their washing machine for the weekend. My grandmother made care packages and would take me to Costco. In the first semester of my freshman year when I was terrified to walk on campus alone after dark they went with me to see Eqqus. If any of you have seen this show you know, it is not the ideal show to bring your grandparents too, but they were unflappable. Whenever I needed to get away from campus my grandparents were there to pick me up.

I think my grandmother was excited when I moved to NY. She had lived here for years in her 20's. She and my Grandfather were married here. They lived a few blocks from where I live now in Brooklyn. She got to visit me twice while I lived here. The second time, she stayed with me in my apartment, which was made possible by the sofa and large bed that she got me. This time I was the one guiding her all over the city. We had an awesome dinner in Little Italy and another one at a cool cuban restaurant. We saw Wicked. We had come full circle.

I will miss her like crazy but I know she lives on in my NY adventures, my emails to my 14 year old cousin, in my doll collection of dolls she made, my love of big broadway musicals, and even in my love of all things sparkly, something we share.

I love you Grandma!

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