Last night, trying to thread a needle to sew a button back on a shirt, memories of my grandmother came flooding in. As a child, if I wasn't brushing her long, white hair, I was also engaged in helping her thread needles for her sewing projects, as seeing small detail close-up was a challenge to her older eyes. I can relate to that now.
She was my only grandmother and, actually, she was my step-grandmother. My family history is too complicated to go into now, except for the fact that I am the only child of an only child who was a single working mother. We lived in San Francisco, but as my mother needed childcare help when I had long breaks from school, I spent much of my summer school vacation with my grandparents in Los Angeles. When I came to stay with them, my grandmother, who I called Mommo, would bake and have it ready for my arrival, my favorite cookies. They were very thick, round, heavy cookies of flour, butter, and sugar. Her cookie cutter was the top rim of a drinking glass. They were very plain but sprinkled on top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. I loved them. They were much like my grandmother herself, who was also stocky, plain, gruff, and from the "old country." But like the mixture of cinnamon and sugar, her fierce love for me had the toughness of spice and the sweetness of sugar. I loved her. She was, indeed, my favorite grandmother.
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