Monday, September 10, 2012
My Grandma Emily died on September 1, just a few weeks shy of her 85th birthday. She lived most of her life in south central Texas, moving to Miami right after my dad was born and coming back to Texas basically as soon as he was grown. For most of my childhood, we spent every Thanksgiving at her house. I was never super close with her, but got to know her better as an adult - we bonded over cooking tips and gardening. Although Grandma was great at domestic tasks, she wasn't your typical Susie Homemaker. She could smoke, drink, and cuss like a sailor, and she loved casinos. She gave me my hair, my figure and my middle name. She was a pistol. After my divorce she seemed both concerned about and proud of me, and often asked my sister if I had a boyfriend yet. Who knows what could happen now that she's petitioning God about it in person! LOL. I hope I can carry on her legacy in my own way.
I spent last week in Texas for the funeral. It was nice to have almost the whole family together. It was the biggest gathering of cousins in at least ten years (11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren). I also saw Grandma's remaining siblings and their families, some of whom I had never actually met.
Two of our cousins also have babies under a year old, so they and Niecy had a grand old time. I loved seeing all the babies together!
Even cooler, my dad and his two brothers each had one grandchild there. :)
In Grandma's honor, we the cousins attempted to replicate her signature dessert, Church Windows. We used to pig out on them every Thanksgiving. They're basically a thin layer of hard chocolate (maybe with nuts?) layered over colored mini-marshmallows. Debra and Lance turned up a recipe for "Rocky Road Candy" in her desk that sounded the same, but it became clear that she had only used that as a jumping off point. Only my cousin Keith had actually seen her make them, so we quizzed him intensely. Lance loves a good baking challenge, so he's going to make a few more attempts and get our opinions. (Of course, the whole thing totally reminds me of Phoebe's lost cookie recipe.)
My grandma's house will probably be sold, and it was also tough to say goodbye to the site of so many memories. It'll be interesting to see if the family gets together much after this - Grandma was kind of the glue.