When I was young, around nine, my mother and I moved back to New York to take care of my grandmother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I don’t really have many memories of her that are not in a house dress, or gansey as she called it. She had a mastectomy and back in those days she wore this gel prosthetic breast that strapped into her bra.
I barely remember what happened yesterday, but to this day I know exactly how that prosthetic looked and felt.
So odd how certain things stick with you.
My cousin and I used to mush that thing like Play Dough and my grandmother would say, “Give me that,” and then she’d throw it at us and play catch.
I’m sure she was a tough mom, but as a grandmother she was excellent.
She’d invite us into her bed, let us wear her lipstick, give us her jewelry, pay us a quarter to do her ironing and kiss us with her teeth in the cup on the nightstand.
I didn’t know her before she got sick, and maybe illness does that to a person, but she was alive. She didn’t travel or go to fancy parties, she was pretty confined to her condo.
She watched mass on TV every Sunday and when she was feeling frisky, which was quite often, she would come into the living room, lift up her leg, yell, “Beautiful!” and go back to her room. I think that was her way of letting everyone know she still had it going on.
Not sure why I thought about my Nan today. Things have been going well this week.
Maybe it’s times like this that I tend to remember people that gave me my stories and made my life so special.
My Nan has been gone a long time and I’m an adult, but I missed her and her gansey today.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Wash Your Gina.