by Christine Mazurk

I call her Meme. She's the only grandparent I knew. My mother's mother lived upstairs in a small apartment in my early years. And when my parents moved us from Montreal, Canada to Miami, Florida, Meme would come spend winters with us.

What made me want to write about her today? Yesterday was her birthday. Born 124 years ago, the woman witnessed many amazing things in the eighty-four years she spent on this earth. The year she was born, the zipper was invented - thank you Whitcomb L Judson for this novel item. What would we do today without it?

But that's just the beginning of what she saw.

The discovery of x-rays, the invention of the vacuum cleaner, the first powered airplane - and later in her life, she traveled on a 747. Colored photography, the Helicopter, and Henry Ford's Model T. In 1919, the year she married her only true love, who was six years younger BTW, the first electric typewriter was developed. (I remember starting my first manuscript at age ten on an electric typewriter <3.) Three years after her first baby, television, and two years after my mother was born, penicillin! The ballpoint pen, microwave oven, and Jet engine followed.

She saw computers, ATM's, and Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon. She and my aunt went on a "flight to nowhere" on the Concord, where they were served breakfast before turning around and landing back at Montreal International Airport.

My grandmother was a hoot. She loved to play jokes on people. Three of the stories she told while I was growing up come to mind often and still make me laugh.

When she was a little girl - she never told me how old exactly, but - she had a Jewish friend. The first time Meme went to the girl's house, she was told that their Religious following did not allow them to use anything electric on Saturday. As she got the tour of the house, my grandmother (innocently - NOT) flicked on the light switches, leaving every room aglow. (Do you think she was invited back?)

Meme was married to my grandfather for only nineteen years. (He died of Pneumonia in 1938 at the young age of 41.) She never remarried and she lived the rest of her life wearing black. In their early years of marriage, my grandfather decided to grow a mustache. Meme never liked it, so one night she took matters into her own hands. While he was sleeping, she smeared chewing gum in half of his mustache, thinking now he'll have to shave. He did! When he came out of the bathroom that next morning, he had half of a mustache!

"You can't go to work like that," she said, hoping he'd go back in and finish the job. Instead, he kissed her good-bye and headed out the door. He had a wicked sense of humor, too.

The third story made it into one of my books. She and her husband threw a dinner party, my grandmother loved to cook. (One of the many things I learned from her.) For dessert, she made cookies, the kind with a maraschino cherry or other surprise inside. In one of the cookies, she had hidden a small ball of thread. When the platter was empty, she stood up and asked, "Okay, so which one of you idiots swallowed the tread?" The room erupted in laughter, and one gentleman turned pink and started coughing. More laughter ensued.

She taught me to cook, sew, crochet clothes for my dolls. We watched TV together. I didn't mention, but Meme only spoke French. When she wanted to watch TV, she'd ask for one of two favorite shows. The first; Les six enfants - The six children aka The Brady Bunch, or her second; L'homme avec les yeux bleu - The gentleman with the blue eyes aka The Wild West with Robert Conrad.

I still talk to her in my dreams, maybe it's my subconscious keeping my French alive, maybe she's visiting to see what else has happened down here on earth. I often wonder what she thinks of all the "devices" we are now hooked on? Does she look at us and shake her head, or does she mess with them while we're sleeping and they are on the chargers?

Do you still have conversations with the angels you have in Heaven?

Until next week, Happy 4th of July. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend!
~ Christine ~





  1. I love your post. It's stirred up my own memories.

    I've been doing the math and your Meme was a bit older than my Nana, but we also used to talk about how much the world had changed in her life time. She was born 6 months after the Wright brothers made their historic flight. She saw the development of aircraft, survived the Battle of Britain and went on to watch the moon landing on TV.

    As a girl, Nana was offered two scholarships, one for music and the other for tennis. Her mother wouldn't allow her to take either. She felt higher education was only for boys. This always made me angry, but I shouldn't complain too much. If Nana had become a concert pianist, my mother and I probably would have never been born.

  2. Alison,

    My mother's birthday is tomorrow. She was Meme's youngest and she had a lot of spunk like her mother. Makes me miss both of them!!

    Meme encouraged mom to pursue a career in Opera, which my mother did for 15 years, but ultimately my mom chose family over career. I'm inspired to write a story where the Opera singer chooses career over family. Imagine the fun I can have with plot twists! So many possibilities...


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