Ode to Berenice

Grandma Bernie was the only grandparent I ever knew. She had a wicked sense of humor and loved me because I was her beloved son’s daughter.

My earliest memory of her is a trip to Disneyland with my dad grumbling at my grandma because her footwear for the day was completely inappropriate. That was Bernie — always dressed impeccably in knit suits, stylish jewelry, and very “tottery” high heels. From what I can remember, she made it through that day mostly upright.

As an only child, it was delightful to have the full attention of a doting grandma. I found her irreverence totally suitable. She visited often, enabling my parents to go out leaving us to have abundant fun. She prepared delicious meals, made cocktails for herself, and child appropriate versions for me. After dinner and cocktails, we would play poker for pennies.

When I was sixteen, life wasn’t great for me. Grandma Bernie came to visit, and without knowing the details of my circumstances, she made the difference. We were happy being together and she healed me.

A few years later, my dad and I visited my grandma and took her on a road trip to visit relatives. I have two vivid memories of that trip – her in the back seat of the car regaling me with stories about my dad as a child, and him groaning in obvious anguish. The other – me sleeping on her couch and her sneaking in every couple of hours to pile yet another blanket on me. The love of a grandma!

I feel very fortunate to have had my grandma. I never missed having other grandparents. She was enough! Thank you, Grandma.