Nanny was 98 when she died yesterday in New York. We used to joke around that Nanny would live forever – 98 is pretty damn close!
I don’t know if my first memories of her are true memories, or moments I remember from old pictures and movies. I do know that we used to make a trip out to New York as often as possible – one advantage to having family across the country was that we always had an excuse to travel.
Nany was crazy! Not in the literal sense, but in the way that when I think about her I have to smile and laugh. We used to call her the “Picker” because she would always, ALWAYS, pick food off our plate. Not a lot, just a little, but she never ceased to soley eat off her own plate.
The last time we visited we were sitting around my Uncle Sid and Aunt Gail’s living room and Nanny sat down. She then proceeded to do her exercises. They looked something like a young college student cheering for their favorite team. She was fist pumping with both arms up in the air…this went on for at least 10 minutes, all the while my brother and I were trying as hard as we could to keep from laughing out loud.
Nanny is going to the grave with SO much history left in her mind. She came from Austria during World War 2. She lived when during the time when she would come home and different family members would not return from their daily grind. Nanny was Jewish in every since of the word and religion.
Even before I wanted to be a journalist I knew she had stories inside of her that needed to come out. Every time I was there I proded and asked questions. The only response I ever got was “It’s too hard,” she would whisper while looking away, “I can’t.” Every time. I wish I could know more about what she went through and how it shaped who I am.
Nanny is now with my Poppy, my grandpa. I knew she missed him very much. The last time I saw her, the sumemr before I went to England, she thought my brother was Poppy.
I’m very very sad I won’t get to be there for the Shiva and just to be around family. After going through the motions with Nana this summer, I know how important it is to be surrounded by family. I don’t think the Jewish religion is any different…