Anna and Elena, 2001
Anna and Elena, 2001. From the series, Primo Amore.
I remember best my connection to my grandmother. I know I learned things directly from my parents but those things are kind of invisible. There was something about the things my grandmother said and did with me that went straight to the heart. My grandmother was the wife of a Methodist minister. As the first lady of the church she had to entertain and socialize all the time but she cooked begrudgingly and mostly dreaded it. When I was maybe 8 years old, my grandmother asked me to accompany her while she delivered meals-on-wheels. I remember the smell of the food, coming from inside the styrofoam containers stacked in the backseat, mixing with the ambient smell of her Buick. The homes we visited had their own aromas each one different and often unpleasant. Upon entering, my grandmother would put the food on a table inside and then surprised me by sitting down and spending time talking with each person. The conversations were mostly about their ailments or making ends meet between government checks but once they started talking I thought they would never stop. Spending a life in the church, my grandmother was well versed in fellowship and camaraderie. When I was older I was able to understand that my grandmother was not just delivering food but also dignity.