I would love to see my grandma Guglielmi one more time. I would push her through the Philadelphia Museum of Art (within walking distance of her apartment). We would look at all of the art, of which I would love and she would say “bah” waving her hand in a grandiose Italian fashion. We’d head over to the Italian Market for lunch where she would keep telling me to “eat; eat child. You are too small. Eat!”
As we made our way back to her apartment, I would be harassed not once, but two times because I was the only white girl in the neighborhood. Once safely in her tiny 600 sq ft apartment, we would settle into the rickety recliners and sort through her piles of crochet projects.
She’d hand me a small gift gently wrapped in 10-year-old tissue paper. Inside I would find handmade rainbow slippers – sized for a child. They are beautiful, soft, and would make me smile. Too bad I won’t be able to wear them; my grandma never realized that as we grow – our feet grow too. We’d talk; we’d eat (again), and the sun would begin to set…my signal to go.
As I reach the door she would toss me another gift, a black croquet beret. “It’s cold outside. You should always have something on your head, dear. Put it on; put it on. I don’t want you catching cold.” I should reply, “but, grandma, it is 65 degrees outside.” However, I know the words would be lost.
After all, the hat smells like her, which makes me want to wear it every single day.