These two women are my grandmothers: Lillian & Esther. Born one day apart from each other. Lillian of German-Swedish descent. Esther a full blooded fiery Italian whom we grandchildren called Bom. Lillian I called Pal.
I spent the most time with my Pal. She loved me. I knew it. Others in my life were more questionable. We played Uno on her gold sofa. She took me shopping at Donaldsons and we ate at Bakers Square. Her favorite pies were lemon meringue and pecan. I’d often go up to her apartment and watch the Wheel of Fortune with her while she “picked her chin” (now I do it). She made me laugh. She always had a $20 bill for me. She died when I was 21.
Bom I knew less about. I know more about what her from what family has told me. She had to grow up too soon and raise her siblings when her mother died. She had dreams of her own that were put aside. And then she had her own family. And she was angry, and sometimes abusive- I know for sure to my father. She died when I was 14. It was the first time I saw my dad cry.
I know these two women had a deep inner life that I know nothing about. This is a sadness for me, a loss. I also know, like me, they did damage to their children- my parents. I also know these two women did absolutely no damage to me. They both provided comfort and security when I could find it no place else.
Happy Birthday Pal & Bom. You both continue to live in and through me. Thank you.