My grandmother, top left, being serious with her four sons: my dad, bottom left, and my three uncles.
Growing up, my grandmother and her twin sister came every summer to watch my brother and me on Cape Cod while our parents worked long hours in the city. Days would be spent on the beach – my grandmother and her sister lounging in beach chairs flipping through magazines, my brother surfing the shore with his skimboard (so cool) and I digging for sand crabs. At night, they would drink white wine with one ice cube each and make us chicken tetrazzini with the best potato salad. After dinner, the three of us “girls” would go upstairs and chat on the couch. It was during those summer nights that I learned how to properly shake nail polish, how to apply lipstick, and how to file my nails the pretty way. I loved it.
My grandmother and I are still very close. We are similar in many ways: I have her knees, her long fingers, her love of bargain shopping. And because grandmothers seem to have the wisest wisdom (they have, after all, been there and done that), I asked her to reflect back a little, on life, on love, and anything else she’d like.
On choosing the right career path:
Looking back, I’d ask myself: is this career path really the one you want, really? You should think deeply about how you want to spend your life making a living. It’s so important.
Everybody goes in a different direction after college. At first you stay close, then you have an occasional reunion, and then your life gets complicated. It just happens — you have commitments, kids…so you lose the closeness, but then you develop new friendships. Once I had my own kids, the bus stop was right in front of our house, so if it was raining or snowing, I would open the garage door and all the parents and their children would wait there — I’d make new friends that way. Your circumstances almost always dictate who you’re friends with, and it’s good to be a little picky.
On dating and finding love:
I always had a boyfriend. I went with someone a long time and then I met your grandfather and we were just attracted to each other. He used to work at the Stanford yacht club as a swimming instructor and this girl, who also worked there, really liked him, and would always be looking for him. I didn’t know if I could get him back, and I was so upset I thought I was going to lose him. But then he finally saw the right choice. He made the right decision. (laughs).
What else, Grandma?
Are you eating? Make sure you’re eating well.
Thanks, Grandma Barbara. You are definitely the best.