Monday, October 26, 2015
MY GRANDMOTHER AND THE CHARLESTON
Today would be my Grandmother's 100th birthday. It is hard to imagine. My Grandmother was born on October 26, 1915 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Being of 100% Irish descent, she also came from a large Catholic family. She had two brothers and four sisters, and she was the youngest of them. My Grandmother was more reserve, even shy, as compared to her other siblings. Two of her sisters used to sell bathtub gin and were arrested during Prohibition!
My Grandmother met my Grandfather, who was 100% Sicilian at the age of 17. He was eight years older than her, but it didn't matter, and they were married in 1933. For years they tried to have a child, and were just about ready to give up when my Father was born in 1946. The pregnancy was a difficult one, and my Father would be an only child.
My Grandfather provided well for the family, but he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1969 at the age of 62. My Grandmother worked as a care giver at a nursing home. Being 100% Irish, I feel at times my Grandmother was cold and distant, but she was old school. I was a pretty wild child, and I remember her watching me once, and I broke her glasses and gave her a couple of nasty bruises.
What I will always remember about my Grandmother is that she taught me how to do the Charleston. Surprisingly I remember that dance to this day. Like I said, she was usually reserved and quiet, but when she was teaching me the dance (it was probably around 1980ish) it was like my Grandmother was back in the 1920s and 1930s. I will always remember that.
Sadly my Parents divorced, and my Father died in 1991. After that I really didn't see my Grandmother much. Losing her only child must have been painful for her, because she pretty much withdrew from the world as far as I could tell. She died of pneumonia in 1998.
So as I commemorate what would have been my Grandmother's 100th birthday, I wish I would have gotten to know her more...especially in her later years. However, I always have fond memories of dancing the Charleston with her!