#Worth Revisit: On Her Birthday

On what would have been her 101st birthday (and she’d be furious at me for divulging her age), a tribute to my grandmother, revisited from 2 years ago.

word by wordI wrote more about my grandmother in my chapter of Word by Word; her witness was a huge influence in my life.

We called her “Nanny.” (She hated the nickname, but once a little kid learns it, you’re stuck with it.) Today she would have turned 99 years old.

Only two of my kids remember her, though we do have a picture of her with all 3 of them. She passed away when Little Brother was about 7 months old.

Nanny lived 2.5 miles away from our house. I know this because when I was in middle school (and high school) I used to ride my bike there, and my dad made sure we all had odometers for our bikes.

Nannys HousePictured here is Nanny’s house as it looks today. She lived on the second floor. When I was in middle school, I received my own key to her house. By that time she was recently retired from her job as a secretary in the courthouse in Paterson, NJ–and she was tired of going down the stairs to let us in when we’d show up to visit.

We were always welcome in her home, even unannounced. And she always knew we’d been there if we showed up and she wasn’t home. We started leaving her little notes on the kitchen table so she wouldn’t worry about someone breaking in.

I inherited my grandmother’s supersonic ears. She could always tell when we were raiding the glass bowl of M&Ms she kept on the dining-room table. (I inherited that table.)

I wish I’d inherited her crossword-puzzle skills. Every Sunday she bought the New York Times, removed the magazine so she could do the puzzle, and threw away the rest of the paper. She’d sit at the kitchen table and work on the puzzle while her Sunday chicken roasted and the potatoes boiled. If I rode my bike over there in time for dinner, I got the wings. And sometimes she’d let me take a crack at the puzzle after she’d gone through it.

Nanny’s house was four blocks from the Catholic school where my mom taught and where at least 3 generations of my family (including me, my brother and sister) were educated. Maybe 4. My great-grandfather might have gone there too. On sick days, Mom would drop us off at Nanny’s house, where we’d be set up on the couch with a crocheted daisy blanket and a book to read. (I inherited that blanket too.)

Nanny was a daily Mass-goer and Rosary pray-er. She always went all out in decorating for Christmas–INSIDE the house–right down to the fake snow on the mantelpieces in the dining room and living room. One year for my birthday she gave me a big box of art/office supplies:  new crayons, scissors, pencils, stapler, art paper and more. I was thrilled.

Hands down, Nanny made the best roast chicken, mashed potatoes, turnips, and tuna-fish sandwiches (on Wonder bread, with butter. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.) I don’t ever remember her baking anything, but she knew where the good bakery was, and when she went there, she’d bring you back a lemon cupcake or blueberry tart. You could always find Coke in the fridge and Mallomars in the cabinet, and the Milky Ways were kept in the vegetable drawer.

I miss Nanny, and more than that, I wish that my kids had what I’d had:  the chance to grow up with anytime-you-want access to your grandmother.
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I’m linking up with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb for #WorthRevisit Wednesday, a place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link up with fellow bloggers!

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Small Success: Discounts & Books

Small Success dark blue outline 800x800Thursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!

On Monday, I took TheKid shopping for new uniform pants (to replace the ones I got him in FEBRUARY, which he outgrew already). I am not in the mood to spend $40 per pair on pants for less than 1 school year, especially since the uniform company no longer adds a generous hem to the pants. They used to give 2 inches–now it’s 1/2 inch, and I can’t do a thing with that. So it was off to WalMart, because he told me that his friends got their pants there, and I found school pants for $14 per pair.

And then we headed next door to Modell’s for some new sneakers for him. When they didn’t have his size in stock, I asked if they could get the shoes for us. Turns out, store policy is to ship them free to your home in cases like that! And while I couldn’t use the 15%-off in-store coupon I had with me, the cashier offered to use a different online shopping code so I got the same discount.

I also found a pair of track pants that I’d been eyeing–and they were on sale. When I tried them on, they made me look skinny! Even better, they made me FEEL skinny! So I bought them. And then, on Wednesday, I went back and bought a second pair. If I could find a way to wear these things 24/7, I would, believe me.

I also gathered up all my courage and pressed the SEND button on an email about a project I’ve been asked to work on with a few other writers. Prayers would be most appreciated!

word by wordFinally, I walked into the parish office yesterday and the business manager waved a copy of Word by Word at me, telling everyone in the vicinity that I am an author! I’m a contributor–one of 40–but wow, it really was cool to see my name on the pages of that book.

Share your Small Successes at CatholicMom.com by joining the linkup in the bottom of today’s post. No blog? List yours in the comments box!

If you’re interested in purchasing Word by Word, consider stopping in at your local Catholic bookstore first. It’s also available online, and if you use my Amazon link, Franciscanmom.com gets a small percentage of the sales.


#WorthRevisit and Word by Word

word by wordI’m celebrating the publication of Sarah Reinhard’s Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary–not only because I think Sarah is a terrific writer and I’d love to get to meet her “in real life”–but also because I have a small part in that book! I’m one of 40 bloggers who was asked to contribute a chapter. And believe me, I’m humbled by the company I’m keeping among the contributors!

Word by Word is all about taking the Hail Mary and really thinking about what you say, and what you pray.

While I was looking for something else in my blog archives this morning, I came across this post in which TheKid, then in kindergarten, was having a little trouble learning that particular prayer word by word.

Little Brother’s teacher sent a note home today that he had not yet mastered the “Hail Mary.” I had never heard him “solo” on that prayer before, so I didn’t know there was a problem.

Well, she’s right. He hasn’t mastered it. But I’m having trouble helping him relearn the line that he thinks is:

“…and blessed is the food in your room, Jesus.”

Mostly because I’m trying to keep from laughing every time he says that. And I’m sure he thinks Mary is one lucky girl, because he’s well aware of the “no food in your room” rule around here.

If you’re interested in purchasing Word by Word, consider stopping in at your local Catholic bookstore first. It’s also available online, and if you use my Amazon link, Franciscanmom.com gets a small percentage of the sales.

Link up with #WorthRevisit at Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb!

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Word by Word: One-Day Preorder Special

I’m excited to announce that there’s about to be a new book in town! It’s called Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary and it’s almost ready for release.

Preorder Word by Word one day saleI’m extra excited because I am one of the contributors to this book, which was organized and edited by Sarah Reinhard. Here’s the background on the idea behind the book, in Sarah’s own words:

This book was inspired by my favorite prayer, the one I call my “blankie prayer.” I got an idea in my head that every word of the prayer was important, and that, of course, I should ask 40 or so of my favorite writers to explain that.

The book will be out on October 16, but since today is the day when the Church observes the Birthday of Mary, Ave Maria Press is having a one-day preorder special! You can order your copy of the book for $10, including shipping. The book is usually $14.95 plus shipping, so this is a very special deal indeed.

word by word coverYou can preorder the book directly from Ave Maria Press for $10 (including shipping) by using coupon code MARY at checkout.

And isn’t Jen Norton‘s beautiful cover art the perfect complement for this book? That drawing is, itself, a prayer.

This offer is good September 8 only, and only through Ave Maria Press.