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.