Hardcore Grandmother

She’s not the average grandmother.

As I approach my forties, she’s still alive and kicking. Though not as high as she used to.

When I was little we used to make jam and cookies. She’d curl my stubbornly straight hair with steam curlers, and we’d eat cheese and crackers and drink Constant Comment tea.

Now hot water has turned into wine, and we have adult conversations over glasses of chilled pinot grigio.

She tells me about her high school days in the 1940s, and shows me a photo of her in her knee-length songleader skirt. She poses with one knee raised, both hands gripping huge crepe paper pom poms. She was a real stunner back then, as glamorous as a Hollywood starlet, and she still managed to turn heads well into her forties and fifties.

Other pictures reveal her older, married, pregnant, her head piled high with Betty Grable curls. When I ooh and ahh over how beautiful she looked in a bathing suit, she chuckles with embarrassment, or maybe sadness, that she no longer has the figure of a pin-up girl.

She hates being old. Not that anyone actually loves it, but she really hates it. Her vanity objects to needing glasses after a lifetime of 20/20 vision, and years of wearing too small high heeled shoes have hammered her delicate toes into deformity.

She can just about send emails, though computers are otherwise a complete mystery to her. But she is a modern woman. At 84 years old, she drives a Honda CRV, uses a cell phone, and reads books on an Amazon Kindle.

And she just does things that other grandmothers don’t do, like the time she couldn’t get her handbag open. The zipper was hopelessly stuck and neither of our best efforts could budge it. So she asked the cashier for a pair of scissors and proceeded to cut open her purse to retrieve her wallet. We laughed and laughed as she performed this emergency wallet C-Section, and the cashier looked at us like we were nuts.

“I’m not the average grandmother.”

That’s for sure.

“Grandma, you are hardcore.”

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