Deb Elise’s Grandmother Gets Naughty With Populazzi

I’ve written about my grandmothers on this blog before.  I have two alive and well (knock wood), but I’m particularly close with my 91-year-old Mom-Mom Eva, who lives just five minutes away.  Mom-Mom Eva is proud of me when I break wind.  The fact that I wrote a book?  A book that’s going to be published???

The woman carries an ARC of Populazzi in her walker at all times, and her favorite moment of any day is when someone asks, “Hmmm, what is that you’re reading?”  Happily, since she lives in a retirement facility where memories aren’t always so sharp, she gets this question quite a bit… often from the same people.

Mom-Mom was the first person to get an ARC, and read it immediately.  It was slow going, since she prefers large print, but she took on the challenge like a champ.

The first time I visited her after she’d started, she was glowing.

“I was worried I wouldn’t like it,” she admitted, “because it’s for kids, but it’s really good!”  She told me she found herself thinking about the characters all the time, and wondering what was going to happen next.  “I feel silly,” she said, “because I’m an old lady already, but I’m really enjoying this book!”

At least, she seemed to be enjoying it.  Then I arrived for a visit and she looked very upset.  “Is everything okay?” I asked.

She shook her head.  “It’s Cara.”

Cara is my main character.

Mom-Mom continued: “She’s making all kinds of terrible choices, and I don’t know what’s going to happen when her parents find out.  I’m worried for her — she could get into a lot of trouble!”

I assured her that I had a pretty good idea what happened in the end, and everything would be reasonably okay.

My favorite Mom-Mom reaction actually came earlier in her romp through the book.  She and I were out at lunch with my daughter, and much as Mom-Mom enjoyed our company, she really wanted the meal to end so she could get back to Populazzi.  She was so excited, she told me, because it reminded her of everything she’d felt when she was Cara’s age, even though that was so long ago.  She said it brought back feelings and memories she’d thought she’d lost forever.

“Some things I can’t remember though, and I keep trying to.  Like… I can’t remember ever wondering about… you know…”

She cast her eyes to the right and left, then leaned across the table and whispered, “…testicles!

So here on this first night of Passover, I’m going to say that was a Dayenu moment.  Had I received nothing more from Populazzi than my grandmother talking about testicles… I’d be satisfied.

~ Deb Elise

24 Replies to “Deb Elise’s Grandmother Gets Naughty With Populazzi”

  1. Your Mom-mom is the balls! I remember when my Grandma Yoli (short for Yolanda, which was changed from Italian Iolanda when she got to school) set her eyes on Mark’s groomsman Brian. Brian was as handsome as they come. White teeth, thick hair, strong jaw. We teased her about it. Her answer, “I’m old! I’m not cold!” And she wore lipstick until the day she died.

    I read the ARC of Populazzi on my flight to CA last week. Not only did I devour it with glee, (and there is NO pinky swear to be a Deb you must gush over the fellow Debs books bologna here) but I got to discuss it with Elise over dinner Friday night before my signing. JOY!

    Pre-order it now so you have a first edition.

    1. Loving you, Kim!!! Interesting that Iolanda was an Italian name. I have an ex-stepmom who’s Iolanda, but she’s from Scotland, so I always thought the name was Scottish.

  2. That is so sweet – I love that she carries it with her so people will ask what she’s reading.

    I’m proud of you, so I can imagine that she must be over the moon!

    1. She does proud well. When Elixir hit the bestseller list, she burst into tears. We were at her doctor appt. at the time, and when the doctor came in she wouldn’t tell him her symptoms until they’d discussed the feat for a good ten minutes.

    1. She’s spectacular. Seeing her tonight for Passover — she’ll be amused that she’s being discussed on the web.

  3. I love this story! And I love the fact that your Mom-Mom still reads and wants to encourage others to do so. The mark of a true bibliophile!

    1. Always has been — more than anything, she loves having a good book handy. She reads ravenously, and will even enjoy a good re-read if she liked the book enough.

    1. The connection Mom-mom has with my daughter is incredibly special to all three of us. Mom-Mom was even in the room when my daughter was born… On Mom-Mom’s birthday!

  4. I’d send Mom-mom an advance copy of “Unchained Maladies,” (my 90% finished collection of humorous oddities — surreal poetry, essays, ephemera and balderdash) but I’m afraid that by three pages in, she’d be convinced she was finally senile 😉 That’s the effect it usually has on me, anyway.

      1. Maybe so…I’ve got some interest from a small microbrewery of a publisher I know through sci-fi fandom; so it’s really just one teeny step above self publishing. Not quite the same thing as a national release by Harcourt (they’re part of Houghton Mifflin, right?)

        On the other hand, I still find myself laughing out loud as I edit it, so maybe it’ll have legs. We’ll see.

        …heh…I just realized that “Unchained Maladies” could be the title I’ve been searching for for my Web comic project (a real stretch, as I can only draw competently 2 days a month). Hmm…maybe I’ll introduce it by including some of the strips in the book…

        Anyway, enough fatuousness. Congrats to everyone here for breaking through to the big leagues (if I had any emotional investment in making it as a writer (I’m focused primarily on my music career), I’d be too jealous to post 😉 And Elise, if you’ve got an extra advance copy of Populazzi (wouldn’t want you to pry mom-mom’s copy out of her hands) I’d love to read it. And give mom-mom a big hug for me 🙂

    1. Thanks!!! Went out with Mom-Mom tonight, and she amused herself by ordering an appetizer for dinner. It cracked her up — like it was the naughtiest and most decadent thing she could possibly do. So, so good.

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