It was 17 years ago this past Memorial Day weekend that my beloved grandma died, but I think about her every day. She’s in my mind while I’m getting dressed, when I play solitaire on my phone and every time I see the clock (she loved times like 11:11 and 2:22).
My grandma was famous for her style — she was the queen of matching. Henriette (not Henrietta, she’d correct you!) matched down to every last bit of jewelry, watchband, purse, hairbow, shoes, you name it. My personal favorite was the domino outfit with the jewelry made of actual domino pieces… though she also sported some pretty rockin’ red high-top Converse tennis shoes. On my first solo trip to visit her as a kid, she imparted to me the importance of matching. This lesson was conveyed each morning when she matched my outfits — down to my underwear. Consequently, I still think of her each morning when I’m picking out my clothes for the day.
At her memorial, our rabbi described her as zippy. That seems so fitting. Beyond her wild style, my grandma made friends with everybody. She loved talking to people. Sitting on a bench, you’d tell your life story before you knew what was happening. She was a wonderfully inclusive woman who’d happily engage anyone in conversation.
On my wonderful visits to her during my childhood, we played a fierce game of double solitaire. She never let me win, and we kept an ongoing tally of our score. She loved introducing me around the swimming pool, where she also taught water aerobics. We had the most fun together. She was soft and cuddly and sweet, and she always bought the candy forbidden by Mama.
To this day, her signature scent Estee Lauder’s “Youth Dew,” still brings tears to my eyes. I once followed a woman around a grocery store because she was wearing it. That scent permeated her entire house — and every package she ever sent us!
Mema lives on in my heart. And every time Mama and I make friends of strangers.
Readers: Please share fun memories of your grandma in the comments!