When my mother needed to leave me with someone, I mostly stayed with my grandma.
And when I stayed with grandma, she took me where ever she went. The town centre for the pharmacy, the grocery store, to visit her family and friends. I remember she once did my hair as she used to do hers when she was young; using a paper bag. She pulled all my hair up in a beautiful bun. I’ve never been able to replicate the effect. With all the hair tools in the world I can’t make it work. Anyway.
I loved to go to her aunt’s house. She lived to be one hundred and three years old and to her last day her mind was as clear as a child’s. Her house was like a big treasure chest. There was a three feet baby Jesus in a corner of her living room, it was dressed in mundillo inside a carved crib. Boxes of silk fabric that we spend hours classifying into colors and patterns. Lots of flowers everywhere.
She, like my great-grandfather, was from Spain. Whenever we visited her maid would make toast and serve it with virgin olive oil. And then she would tell stories about the days when her father (my great-great-grandfather) worked in the oil pressing factory and his kids would sneak in with toasts that their mother prepared to get some freshly pressed oil for them.
I could sit there for hours listening to her.
I’ll remember her by eating toast with virgin olive oil.