I’ve started cleaning for Passover, have you? I started with some small things: setting aside what needs to be consumed before April 6 (how many challahs can I make with 20 lbs of flour?), making a dent in the scrubbing…just getting in the mood for purging my entire house of hametz before going to work on the next episode of The Big Bang Theory. Standard stuff, you know how it is.
I miss my grandmother today. She was a woman who really knew how to clean. Give that 5- foot-tall, 5-foot-wide Hungarian balabusta a sponge in a kitchen and by nigthfall, the sink would take on a luster unseen before her thick hands set to it. My grandmother lived a life of cleaning and cooking and sewing and caretaking in an apartment in the Bronx with my grandfather, his father (who had active Tuberculosis, by the way), and three daughters, the middle of whom was my mother. My mother learned to cook and clean from her mother, and passed on those skills to me. We spent many pleasant and productive Type-A Personality hours cleaning and organizing and washing my dolls’ clothes and darning socks (any other 36-year-old out there have a memory of darning socks on a wooden darning egg!? Didn’t think so!). It was a special time for us, and when I watched my grandmother clean our house when she visited, I saw myself and my mother as part of a long line of cleaning and cooking women who were destined to greatness in our own way. Read the rest of this entry →