Sunday, July 07, 2013

Where Are My Keys?

When I saw my Grandma over Mother's Day Weekend I asked about how she and my Grandfather had met. My Grandpa passed away when my mom was just a teenager so he just exists in my mind from the million love stories my Gram tells and the small-moment stories my mom shares that seem so big. But I realized riding home with her one night that I had never actually heard how they met, so I asked.

My Grandma was so in love with my Grandpa. It's obvious in the smallest details she chose to include in her retelling of how they met. I'm such a sucker for the tiniest parts of a story and she filled me up by not forgetting a single one. When something feels important, I try to remember little details. What I had in my pockets, the feel of what I was wearing, what the people around me were reading or looking at, the smell of anything. My Gram didn't disappoint by sharing layered details of the party they had both attended at social club for the boys who served in the war-- a club that was looked over and maintained by their girlfriends while they were gone. My Great-Aunt Sophie (the biggest badass and greatest person I've ever known) was dating a guy from that club at the time and invited my Grandma to attend. Everyone was assigned a specific task at the beginning of the party and my Grandma, not knowing anyone, was told to hold all the car keys.

She said that at the end of the night, a tall good looking man started asking, "Who has the keys to my heart?" In her retelling of the story, she must have said the word jalopy 35 times. Apparently my grandpa drove quite the junker of a car that he absolutely loved and he called it his heart. So he went around after people started leaving asking, "Who has the keys to my heart?"

My Gram was holding them.
How perfect.

A night later, she and my great-grandmother grabbed throw pillows to sit by the window after dinner to people-watch.  This is what they did. It was pretty much like Facebook but with live status updates. They just watched their neighbors from their apartment in Brooklyn. At this point in the retelling of the story, I should say, I could not have been grinning any more widely. In terms of storytelling, my Gram was KILLING it. But I guess that's what happens when you retell a love story. Anyway, they were sitting at the window and my grandma saw the guy from the party walking down her sidewalk. She knew he didn't live in her neighborhood and that he could only be there for her so she ran to get changed and met him.

They went to the movies.

They ended up dating. After each date he took one of the fake flowers she wore in her hair (apparently a fashion of the time) and pinned it to the inside roof of his jalopy. When they broke up for a minute, she received a call at work one day. This was very rare. They didn't even have a phone in their house. How it worked in their neighborhood was if someone wanted to talk to you they would call the candy shop. Then one of the kids at the candy shop would run to get you and you'd give them a penny for delivering the message. Apparently there was a woman in their neighborhood who always gave a nickel and all the kids would race to get to her house first to deliver a message because they could actually get a lot of candy for a nickel.
But I digress.

She got a call at work from my grandpa and he must have been quite charming because they started dating again and got married. And something like 65 years later, we were siting in a parked car outside of her house and she was recounting the whole thing like it had literally just happened.

It made me so freaking happy.
Love you, Gram.


Amalia said...

Stop it right now. So cute. I can't even.

Jess said...

Thanks for officially being the only person outside of my family to still read this blog.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with your mom and knew your grandparents and the entire extended family. This is a beautiful story that brought tears to my eyes. My name is Lois and I sent you a message on facebook.

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