My grandmother, Grammy, passed away yesterday. I wanted to write a tribute to her for the blog, but I have been struggling with it. I am almost 40 and, until this weekend, I had 4 living grandparents. Grammy was my father’s mother. I have written in the past about my father’s influence on my reading. It came from his parents. I have very clear memories of my grandfather, Poppop, sitting on his chair reading a science fiction novel. What I don’t have is memories of my grandmother reading. I know she did and I know she loved books, I just don’t remember her reading. Typically because she was doing other things.
I have two very specific book related memories of her. One is vague and the other happened two weeks ago, so it is very clear. The first, the vague memory, is from the summer before I went into high school. At the time my grandparents lived about 2 hours from us. We were in Miami and they were in Naples, FL. I have very clear memories of driving across the Everglades with my headphones on and a book open. I am one of those rare people who can read in a moving vehicle. In this memory, Katie (my sister) and I were staying with my grandparents in Naples for about a week while our parents were away. One of the many ways Grammy entertained us was taking us to the small Naples library. I think in a week we had to make about 3 visits and each time I left with at least 5 books each time.
The current, more detailed memory happened about 2 weeks ago. I did video chats with Grammy almost every night while she was in the hospital. By the time my father got to town (they live about 4 and a half hours away from Miami now), she was bored out of her mind. When I was able to call she was complaining to my father about the book he had brought her. She had asked him to get her a trashy novel.
My father really has no idea what a trashy novel is. He brought her a mystery/suspense book. To be fair, he doesn’t read trashy novels. I, on the other hand, have read plenty of trashy novels. I had to teach my father how to identify a trashy novel: couple on the cover, man typically without a shirt, woman typically in some type of dress. Grammy was pleased I clearly knew how to identify a trashy novel.