|As it appears now.|
Last Friday was my grandmother's birthday, my mom's, mom. If she had been able to survive her illness back in 1979 she would have turned 127 years old. Of course she'd have had to survive a number of other hurdles between then and now to have reached that age, not the least being that most human beings don't live that long. My first remembrances of Grandma was her house on Ada Street in Chicago. It always had a peculiar odor, a fruitiness combined with the smell of my aunt's canaries, and the aroma of their ancient bathroom. At least that was the smell until Grandma started cooking or baking, and then that would overcome any funkiness that had prevailed. My mom used to send me to stay with Grandma for a week in the summer. Visiting Grandma was a real treat in some ways, and in other ways it sucked. First of all there was the Chicago Union Stock Yards just a half a mile away. On warm summer nights, with the windows open and a light breeze out of the northeast, the overpowering stench of the stock yards would waft by. I always likened it to dirty feet and stinky socks multiplied by a hundred, and stuffed directly up your nose. It was awful, and it would usually give me a headache. But that was all forgotten when Grandma would break out one of my favorite treats, homemade popsicles. Kool-Aid frozen in a ice cube tray with toothpicks for handles. I still remember sitting on her front porch, slurping down two or three of those things while Grandpa smoked one of his White Owl cigars. Which is another thing, I hated those cigars but I love it now when I get a quick smell of one on a summer evening. It brings back memories of Grandma and Grandpa, and the house on Ada Street.