Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: Hold the Raisins
By David F. Palmieri Sr.
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She left me in “64,” and I miss her still today. Although she never spoke much English, Viola was my best friend. She taught me how to crochet, sew, cook, bake, and how to wash clothes on her old, glass topped, washboard. I can still feel the sensation when my knuckles would occasionally scrape the ridges on that board as I rubbed the bar soap onto the scrubbing surface. I remember kneading the Babka dough until my arms ached. If it weren’t for the raisins, she had me add it would have been perfect. In spite of the raisins though it smelled mighty good while baking and tasted wonderful when she covered it with butter while it was still warm.
It’s funny that after 44 years we can still feel the bruised knuckles and smell the smells of our childhood. Vicks and an old cloth diaper on your chest when you had a cold…milk and honey for that sore throat…Noxzema on your sunburn. These scents as well as many others remind me of those long ago days when Viola lived with us. She was one of the most memorable parts of my life and still is today.
I have a picture of her at about 15 years old, when she first came over from Poland. She was beautiful and I am often mesmerized by the look in her eyes when I ponder that picture. She came to live with us shortly after my mom’s dad was killed and stayed with us until her final day on earth. She had lost her youngest son in the war. I never asked her about it because I was too young at the time to even know about Uncle Teddy’s death.
Grandma especially loved it when I would play Polish music on my brother’s old accordion. I can assume that it brought her many fond memories of her younger days. She was the one who loved me, a pudgy youngster, in a home where love wasn’t expressed. I don’t blame my folks. I believe they did the best they could do with what they knew at the time. I can say that I am thankful that God provided grandma to help an adolescent through a rough time in life. My prayer and dream is that I will bring the same kind of memories to my grandchildren when they remember me.
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