I didn’t actually mean for my last post to be a ‘Part One.’ But then, as I was writing the headline, it struck me that I couldn’t honestly write something complete called “The Things Grandmothers Know” without a nod to Grandma Edith.
You know, the one who is turning 100 this month and who still lives in the apartment where my father was raised and who has left Brooklyn about eight times–probably six of them to visit family in Florida.
Chances are that if I know me you than you’ve heard, or read, about her. In fact, if you know me you can stop reading–because you’ve probably heard this story multiple times. If you don’t, you can imagine that anything over ninety that speaks some Yiddish generally makes for a good anecdote.
Anyway, the latest Grandma-related sensation (and yes, this one I do call Grandma) is that she thinks I’m in Mexico. I tried to explain to her that New Mexico is in fact it’s own state, but she wasn’t having it.
Prior to my move, she seemed vaguely concerned about the prospect of me leaving the country and living among foreigners, but really no more than she is generally concerned about me taking the subway to Manhattan. And then, during a phone call a couple of months later, she asked: “Have you met anyone? Maybe a Mexican?”
At the time it was just a punch line: at that point I had not met a Mexican, only a pale, six foot five linguist from Poughkeepsie with shockingly poor speaking skills. There was nothing non-Anglo about him.
But it turned out that My Latest Hiccup, as I shall call him for the few remaining purposes of this post, was in fact a native New Mexican of Mexican-American descent. Actually, he claimed not to know his father’s true heritage but said that his parents spoke Spanish to one another when they didn’t want him to know what they were saying. Also, he was swarthy, small-statured and well-spoken.
When things got started, I was quick to text my brother: “I met a Mexican!” I wrote, giddy with irony and infatuation. And during the approximately seven minutes that we dated, I even told MLH the story. He said he was excited to hear Grandma’s reaction when she heard the news. (He also said a lot of other things that one should not say when one intends to vanish completely hours later, which he did, but more on that another time).
So yes, he did vanish. But fortunately, he did so before I’d had a chance to tell Grandma Edith: I wouldn’t have wanted to spoil her 100th birthday.