Friday, July 22, 2011


Today I'm remembering my Nanny, my mom's mother. Whenever we would visit in Long Island, we would arrive sometime in the late evening. It was a seven hour drive, and sometimes longer, in our conversion van that held mommy, daddy and my three siblings (and my sister's stuffed animals). My brother and I could rarely sleep, so we watched VHS tapes (had to be a musical, because Dad was listening) or played the alphabet game or counted colors of cars. We loved when we were finally getting close to the big city, with lights strung across bridges and oncoming headlights making strings of pearls. We would sing a silly song from our Sesame Street cassette tape - "George Washington Bridge" when we crossed that bridge. The Throg's neck bridge was always heard by us as "Frog's Neck" - sounded silly to us, but meant that we were almost at Nanny and Grandpa Ace's house!

When we pulled into the "W section" of their suburb, passed 7 Eleven and drove onto their street (which was named after flowers), you could almost smell the salty ocean air. We would climb out of the van, walking past the scent of juniper bushes and red geraniums, and through the narrow hallway into the kitchen. The kitchen had a bay window with cafe style curtains covering the lower half, and a valance on top. Nanny's collection of African violets lined the window sill, and the kitchen table was cozied up close. The kitchen chairs were great - on rollers and spinny - a kid's fascination! We would fight over which color of plastic cup we would get - I wanted blue or pink.

And then, Nanny would pull out this cake. Nanny, white hair in curlers and wearing her cotton nightgown and bathrobe, would cut us thick slices of yellow bundt cake with flecks of chocolate and chocolate chips, dusted with powdered sugar, and insist that we eat before we fell asleep.

Because my mom is mourning the loss of another woman in her life today, I made the cake. And I'm going to find a red geranium.

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