Sorry, I haven’t updated in a while, I’ve had quite a bit on my mind, and though I had time to write, I found that I had nothing to write. My grandmother passed away last month, and until I found closure at the funeral yesterday (8/16/08), I couldn’t bring myself to write here. Nothing to write. But not that that I have closure, I feel like I’m ready to begin here again.
So, I shall begin by posting what I wrote for the funeral. I was asked to say something, so I sat down to write it. I found that I could not write anything serious, so I wrote what was in my heart. Here it is:
Maria Ronzino (1913-2008)
“Good memories. I have such good memories.” she used to say to me whenever we were on the phone together. More often towards the end. She could talk for hours if you let her. The conversations would always begin the same way.
“Hello, Andrew! How are ya?”
“I’m doing good, Grandma. How are you?”
“Oh, you know. Like an old lady. A little pain here, a little pain there.”
Every time I could count on her saying the exact same thing. She would then talk about the doctor, and what the doctor wanted her to do, and the new pill the doctor wanted her to take, but she wasn’t going to. Not to mention that she didn’t like the new doctor. Sometimes she would tell me that she was woozie the other day. “Woozie” has long ago become a normal word in my lexicon.
From there, the conversation always turned one of three ways. Food, war, or good memories.
If she brought up food, it always involved the price of tomatoes back in the day compared to the price of tomatoes now. That would then lead to her telling me what she had for breakfast (and often included the prunes), to what was for dinner that night, to“Ralphie is cooking tonight, oh, he’s become such a good cook!” She would then talk about the butcher, and what the butcher had to offer, and for how much, and what the price was when she was a little girl.
If the conversation took the direction of war, she would tell how her father fought in the war, then talk about how Grandpa fought in the war. This line of talk always lead to the same thing. George W. Bush! This is when you let her blow off a little steam.
But the best conversations were when she would talk about her good memories. Oh, how much I loved these talks. She would begin to tell all kinds of stories, some of herself when she was but a child. But most of the time the good memories she spoke of were the ones she had of her children and grandchildren. She never had a bad word to say. She spoke in such high esteem of her family. No matter what happened, she had good memories. Sometimes she would tell the same stories over and over again, but I didn’t care. I was talking to Grandma!
Now, that she has passed on into eternity, we all have good memories of Maria Ronzino, and I want to take this time to share some of mine.
I remember when she used to take me with her to Mass on Sundays if I stayed the weekend And I would sit through the service, often fidgeting. But I would stand when she stood, and spoke when she spoke…even though I had no clue what I was saying. Some kind of prayer. But then Communion time would come, and I would stand next to Grandma waiting to receive the sacraments. I loved the little wafer, but It would get stuck on the roof of my mouth. I also loved the wine. I remember this one time, the priest tipped the cup and I took a sip (my first experience with wine, if I remember correctly). I still remember that first taste to this day. I wanted more, but the priest was already wiping the goblet for the next person. I ran ahead of Grandma to sit back down.
There was this one time when Grandma and I were heading heading to the park and I decided to race her, so I started to run, Down the sidewalk, down the hill, and into the policeman. He held me there and asked me why I was in such a hurry, he made me wait for Grandma. This is a good memory, she brought up to the family the night before her passing.
I remember that whenever I stayed with Grandma, I would kiss her hello, then book it for the cookie jar. The white and blue cookie jar shaped like a smiling woman ready to give up her treats to her grandkids. The same jar I somehow broke, she mended it with some crazy glue. I would reach inside and grab one of “Grandma’s Cookies” They were oatmeal cookies that you could die for. At some point in the day, Grams would have me sit down at the table and she would bring over for me a tall glass of milk and three Stella D’oro Breakfast Treats, which all of us grandkids long ago dubbed “S-Cookies”, because of their “S-like” shape. I would then spend some time in front of the TV watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood.
There’s not enough time in the day to tell all the stories of my times with Grandma. But I can summarize with these few short burbs.
- Grams watching me swim in the pool with my water wings, or what my family calls, “sloaties”.
- Playing Uno with her, and always beating her, making her so mad, she would leave the table. She always hated to play games she knew she would lose.
- Hearing all the stories Dad and Uncle Ralph would tell about Grams running after them with the sauce spoon.
- Her entire, joy filled life.
Grandma always smiled, she always laughed, she would never complain about anything or anyone. If there was anyone who showed God, it was her. She lived a life I want to live.
I have made good memories with her, it will be hard to do it without her. But she will live on in our good memories of her. I just wish that some day I could say on the phone to my grandchildren “I have such good memories.”
I love you, Grandma.