I was wearing jeans, a big shirt and running shoes. She had the jeans but was wearing ballet flats and a t-shirt. We were both pushing strollers, stopped on the corner for a red light. I took a chance. “They don’t make grandmothers like they used to, huh?” She laughed and then we both oohed and aahed over each other’s grandchildren.
Well, they don’t. My grandmothers had gray hair, one wore hers up in a bun. My hair is wavy, shoulder-length and a lovely auburn color. Any time I see gray, I call Maira, my colorist.
My grandmothers wore demure skirts, blouses and dresses which were always in style because they were never in style. As a matter of fact, my Grandma was wearing the same suit in a picture of us in the playground in 1954 as she wore to my son’s bar mitzvah in 1991. She wore orthopedic shoes for as long as I can remember. Now I can’t wear stilettos, but a nice pair of stylish heels is essential for any good outfit.
My Grandma baked strudel, rugalach and the best babka you ever tasted. I remember the buttery bag of rugalach she dropped off right before Yom Kippur for break-fast. Forty years later, I think I can still smell them.
My grandsons are crazy for my macaroni and cheese.
I just found Grandma’s recipe, in her own handwriting, for her chocolate cake. Too many steps for me, too many ingredients. I doubt my granddaughter will ever find one of my recipes. Maybe I’ll leave a note telling her to do take-out.
Grandma always had supper on the table for Grandpa. My husband is lucky if I bought something from the local kosher store and put it in the fridge. It’s microwave-on-your-own.
Grandmothers used to look like grandmothers.
A few years ago, I pushed my twin grandsons in a double stroller around Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This area is, as my friend put it, the “in-vitro capital of the world” and there are many “older” moms with “multiples.” If someone complimented my adorable babies, I preened that, when corrected, they gasped-“But you look much too young to be a grandmother!” And if they got it right, I was positively insulted that there was actually someone who did not think I was the mother!
My grandmothers were always thrilled to see me. Everything I did endorsed their view of me as extraordinary. They were my biggest fans. They were proud of me, they loved me and I knew it.
In some ways, for sure, they still make grandmothers like they used to.