Friday, April 06, 2007

R.I.P. Grandma

My grandmother died.

96 years old! She broke her hip a few months ago and was home mending from that. According to my dad, she began having trouble breathing and was taken to the hospital where she passed away.

I know it sounds really mean, but I haven't talked to her in 15 years or so. The last time I saw her was at one of my brother's wedding- I don't even remember which one.
I know many kids are close to their grandparents and with both parents working, sometimes the grandparents practically raise the kids.

My relationship with my grandmother was not like that. She lived in Jacksonville, Florida from the time I was born, so the only time I saw her was when she would visit for a few weeks in the summer.

She was a great person. She lived on her own until a few years ago, was very active in her community and loved peace.

Unfortunately, she drove my whole family crazy when she visited. My poor mom dreaded the times she would stay at our house. Of course, my dad would leave for work early every day and my mom would be stuck with his mother all day long. These were very stressful times in my house.

Some memories of my grandmother:

My family visited her at her home in Jacksonville one August and my cousins were running wild inside (where there was air conditioning). One of them knocked over her TV set, causing my grandmother to freak out and throw all the kids outside (where there was no air conditioning). It was a miserable day.

My grandmother used to travel by train back and forth from Florida. She used to say she enjoyed the 30 hours or so it took to get to Connecticut from Florida: "They served me some very nice crackers," was one of her quotes.

One time my mom and us kids were waiting for her at the Old Saybrook train station. I'm sure the train was late and my mom was probably ticked off already. As we were standing on the station platform, a dead bird fell out of the sky and landed at our feet. Me and my brothers were simply amazed. Talk about a bad omen!

Another time, my dad and I were at the New Haven train station, once again waiting for a late train. Her train pulls in, everyone gets off, and still no Grandma. Finally, a conductor gets off the train helping my grandmother. If I remember correctly, she had fallen down during the trip but refused any medical help until she reached her destination.

In high school, we forced Grandma to watch MTV with us. The Whitesnake video for Here I Go Again comes on and that model is squirming the driver of a white Jaguar while he's driving. Grandma yells, "That's a good way to get killed." I yelled back, "It does look like a good way to be killed!" She didn't think it was funny.

That same visit, we were watching professional wrestling. Totally fake but Grandma is falling for it. A wrestler is writhing on the mat in pain, and Grandma's yelling, "He's hurt! He's hurt!" The more she yelled, the more we laughed. She kept screaming, "His back! He broke is back!" Very enjoyable.

She was always writing peace songs ("Peace. Peace. Peace is good. Peace. Peace. I like peace."). She would write letters to TV stations, trying to get my brothers and me our own TV segment to sing her peace songs. She would bring the lyrics of all of her songs when she would visit and force us to sing them. I think one of my brothers even played the recorder while we sang.

I could go on and on but this last memory is my favorite. It made a big impression on me when I was a little kid. My grandmother was up for her visit and she and my dad had a huge fight over something. He got so fed up, her called the airlines for a ticket, drove her to the airport, and forced her home on a plane. I remember how shocked I was. I couldn't believe that you were allowed to do things like that to your parents!

She was really a good woman. I think we drove her almost as crazy as she drove all of us. She will be missed and I'm sure she touched the lives of many people in her community.

I guess the only proper way to honor her is for all of us to join together and think of her. . .

. . . as we watch Here I Go Again:


Anonymous said...

You got a weird (or pathetic) family there...

You and dead birds...

Anonymous said...

We all have relatives who drive us crazy, but once they're gone, we truly do miss them. I know you loved your grandmother, Joe (you may not have realized it during all the times she made you miserable as a kid) ~~ if you didn't, your story wouldn't have gone beyond "My grandmother died." I wonder if she knew the song (round) we used to sing around the campfire at Girl Scout camp: "Peace, peace, peace, peace. Will I ever see thee reign? I will wait forever and ever. Peace, peace, peace."

Joe's Grandmother is now at peace. I will keep the Goberman family in my thoughts and prayers.