My Same Old Grandma

Stephen Trussel

Grandma was 92 the last time I visited New York, and I stayed with her. She lived alone in a walk-up apartment, and took care of herself. Only recently she had moved out of her big old brick house, the one I had visited so often as a boy. Of course, some of her children still lived nearby, and so she was never lonely. She often spent time talking on the phone, seeing how everyone was, keeping up with the news of family and friends.

Every morning (except Sunday) she started the day by reading the New York Times. (She said that on Sunday it was too big.) Grandma's joke was that the first part of the newspaper she read was the section where they listed who had died recently. She'd look for her name, and if she didn't find it, she'd go on about her daily business. Except that her glasses were thicker, and she seemed rather shorter, she was still my same old Grandma. She always had the answers to problems, and she was always right.

One night during my visit I went out to see some friends, a couple I'd known since high school days. We'd talked and talked, and it was after 1:00 AM when I finally climbed the stairs and silently turned the key in Grandma's lock. I gently pushed open the door, and was shocked to see Grandma standing there in her robe, arms folded, with a look of disapproval on her face. Immediately I felt like a small boy. "I'm old enough to stay out past midnight," I thought, "why is she angry with me?"

"Don't you know it's after 1:00 o'clock?" she said sternly. "Your friends have to go to work in the morning, even if you don't!" It was my same old Grandma, always worried about everyone else. Then, as if to reinforce the fact that nothing ever changed, that it was indeed my same old Grandma, "Aren't you hungry? Let me make you something to eat." And with that we retired to the kitchen, and sat down to discuss the events of the day over a bowl of soup. We sat there talking, and I couldn't help but think that we had probably done the same thing almost forty years earlier, when I was a little boy and had stayed up past my bedtime, grandmother and grandson, chatting away, on into the night.