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Buzzkill. Today is the anniversary of my grandmother’s death. No, no, don’t go reaching for your tissues just yet. It’s not that kind of post. Truthfully I didn’t even know the date until I saw an email from a cousin asking that we all set a little time aside today to honor her. I knew her as “Gitty” or “Git” or “Goose” although I can’t remember where the latter came from. I know Gitty is from my brother who got as close to “Grandma” as he could before settling on Git. All the grandkids that came after him call her Gitty. All the ones before him called her plain old Gram. Incidentally my son calls my father “Gek” or “Gekky.” Runs in the family, I guess.

Before I responded to the email I texted my mom and asked if it was inappropriate to honor her by reminiscing about her potty mouth. My grandma was seriously dirty. Like 50 Shades dirty. If only she were alive today I’d know exactly what I’d get her for Christmas. My mom said something along the lines of “Umm… I think they’re trying to be nice.” Oh okay, fine. But Gitty would totally approve of my tribute.

My cousins knew her better than I did due to various reasons I won’t get into. (But if I ever write a novel, just know the grandmother character is probably not totally fictionalized.) Although there’s a large chunk of my formative years Gitty wasn’t around for, she did have a lasting impact on me. Here are some of my favorite memories.

1. Docksiders. There’s a picture of her and I engaged in a side hug at my tenth birthday party. I’m wearing one of my 30 monogrammed sweaters (brown and orange speckled) with a ruffled collar underneath. (Very classy for a 10 year old, no?) And I am in tears. Happy ten year old tears. Tears like I had just been reunited with my dog who ran away six years ago.
I HAD to have those shoes. My life would be ruined without them. My own mother wouldn’t get them for me. Gitty saved me from certain social banishment and for that I will always be grateful. But, ugh. What was so great about these shoes that made ten year old girls swoon? Did any member of Duran Duran wear them ever? 
‘Cause yeah, every landlocked ten year-old girl needs these shoes. For sure.
2. Her potty mouth. Gitty used to drop these totally inappropriate, vulgar nuggets into every day conversations. I feigned disgust (which she relished) but really I loved it. Lunch with Gitty was like a Sex and the City episode. I used to tell my friends the things she would say and she quickly became a legend. I have a friend who still quotes Gitty. (“They’re tits to me!”) I mean, who’s grandma says these things? (Besides, Quinn’s of course.)

 

We’re still talking about pharmaceutical sales, right?
3. Rum Balls. Every Christmas Eve we went to her house after church where I consumed vast amounts of rum balls. I never had rum balls any other time of year and to me, the sight of those red and green sprinkled orbs screamed Christmas. Still does. One year I made homemade rum balls for a Christmas party I hosted. Needless to say at one point in the evening there were like 13 cabs outside my condo.
No wonder I had such a high tolerance by the time I left for college.
No wonder I had such a high tolerance by the time I left for college.

Shelly Mazzanoble

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