My September Exercise ... untitled so...
Find a Conversation
|Mon, 09-23-2002 - 7:47pm|
My September Exercise ... untitled so far.
I'm so far behind, but I thought I ought to get September's assignment up before moving on to soy sauce flavored toothpaste. This was done this evening in under an hour, so level one feedback, please, although anything at all is appreciated.
Thanks, Terry *********
I never knew it was Art. I thought it was just a dime store print that hung above Gramps' chair in every apartment they lived in. I know when I was very small, there was a Murphy bed in a living room closet, where I slept on those special sleepovers. And a piano in the corner. Always a piano. Nana played, and I'd dance around the room pretending to be a beautiful ballerina. And when I asked, she'd play "Nola" which had me bouncing and spinning until I was too dizzy to do anything else. Later, I taught my younger brother the art of dancing until he fell down, too.
With Gramps, it was "rap-a-tap." We'd stand on his feet, and he'd bounce us up and down to the beat. His shoes were always shined, and he wore a shirt and tie every day of his life. At least I can't remember ever seeing him without one. I can't remember him playing anything else with us, ever. Except for "pull my finger," and we were young enough at the time to think it was funny.
In every apartment was a cardboard carton of toys - coloring books and crayons, paper dolls, some blocks, and some modeling clay. One afternoon, my brother and I spent hours-or the child's eye equivalent-making tiny bits of fruit, vegetables, and other shapes out of the caramel colored plasticine. When Dad came home for dinner, we showed off our platter of creations and shrieked when he popped one in his mouth. He thought it was marzipan, but that was something found at my other grandmother's house. He figured it out soon enough, but my brother and I thought we were something special to have fooled Dad.
Nana and Gramps's place was always about food. "Have you eaten?" came before "Come in," when you showed up at the door. They never had a dining room; everything happened in the kitchen. Eating at Nana's meant roast chicken, brisket, or, for special occasions, turkey. Two vegetables, one of which was canned peas. At Nana's, peas tasted good. I watched once, when I was old enough to understand some of the ins and outs of cooking. She drained all the liquid from the can, and added a generous amount of butter in its place. Potatoes for sure. Applesauce, jello, usually red, sometimes with fruit cocktail, and a yellow cake. And there was always a backup chicken in the oven, should the chicken, brisket or turkey not be enough. I can't remember her ever cutting into the backup bird.
If we were there for breakfast or lunch, she made pancakes-oval pancakes, because she spooned them onto the griddle with a big oval serving spoon. She used a mix, but never once read the back to see what to add. Recipes were not part of her kitchen. Blintzes were here specialty. Learning to make her blintzes meant going to her house, and making her stop as she added the flour, milk, and eggs to the batter to see how much she used. No matter how I tried, hers were always better. It was the pan, I thought.
One day in my late teens, I was looking at a museum brochure. A Van Gogh exhibit was coming to town. And there, inside the slick pages, to my shock, was a copy of Nana and Gramps's picture. "Sunflowers." Of course, theirs was a print, and probably a cheap one, but it was still Art. Until that moment, I never realized they had anything "worldly" in their home. That picture is my childhood.
I don't know what happened to the picture when they finally had to move into a home. My brother, who became a chef, got her big creamy colored Wedgewood stove, with its big oven, and the shelves for the salt, pepper, sugar, and flour containers. He still has it. He will pass it on to my son as soon as he moves into a house of his own. I got Nana's piano, which I sold with great sadness once there was nobody left at home who could bring music from its keys. But I still have her special blintz pan. I only wish the blintzes tasted as good.