Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nana, from Christopher

 My grandmother is named Edna, known as Nana to me. She lives in a perpetual dual with my grandfather, and holds court every day beginning at 4:30, cocktail hour. She read every day during her afternoon nap, and before she went to bed. Now she listens to books because of her failing eyesight, courtesy the US government, through a program like Netflix, but for books on tapes. She grew up on a Masonic farm in Wisconsin, with a monkey. Her father and mother moved to Racine, her mother became a short-order cook, and so did Nana. Nana is partly Danish, identifies as Danish; she fed us herring, traditional Danish pastries like evascures and kringle, pumpernickel.  We called her closest elder sister Tootie, though she was christened Florence. Until Tootie’s death, they played bridge together with old friends every week. Nana married Emil, my grandfather, the beginning is shrouded in mystery. Edna and Emil have five children, twelve grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. She helped to take care of me for some weeks after I was born on an air force base in Illinois, and she gave me my first book, well before I could read, I still have it, it is called “Christopher for President.”

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