The City Will be Lonelier

New York City will be lonelier soon. After living in the same walk-up for likely over 50 years, Grandma is leaving town. She's 92, so it's amazing that she's been an independent city gal for so long.

The steep stairs to the apartment have probably been impractical for the last 10 years, even if they were a signature part of the welcome to Grandma's. I remember being a kid racing up those stairs after Grandma buzzed us into her apartment, to see her come out into the hallway with her apron on to greet us with hugs and kisses.

Lost will be the time capsule of her apartment, in its same configuration from the 1940s. Classic clock, above. The surrounding apartments have been made into studios. The configuration was always odd, look at the headroom above the sink! Going to the bathroom meant asking someone to move their chair at the dining room table. Here's Gram at work with her kitchen knife, rustic enough to seem like it came with her from the farm in Slovakia. There is no dishwasher, which meant an annual holiday traditional of drying the dishes together. Dad told of his own tradition of sneaking food he didn't want to eat into the silverware drawer that was part of the dining table. We also believed for years, since Grandma told us and it must be true, that Santa Claus lived in her closet. It was always bulging open!

Grandma will be going down to Florida to join my aunt and uncle. I'll be looking for a Polish butcher in Chicago to find the kielbasa we won't have for the holidays anymore, since that was the errand Gram always made sure to run for the holidays, even if the celebration was held in New Jersey or Philadelphia. Here she is slicing up the appetizers! I'm sure I'll be thinking of all the other details that will be becoming memories as she moves this week.

Whenever I was in New York City I tried to find an hour to visit with Grandma. Once ducking out of market research for just an hour, after our moderator told me the right subway line to take. I had to get back quickly and Grandma scolded me a little for being in such a hurry. New York City won't be the same without Grandma there.

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