Today is the one year anniversary of my maternal grandmother's passing. I miss her every day.
She was the only family member I spent time with besides my parents after we moved away from Italy when I was a young child. She used to visit during the Christmas holidays in Mexico. I used to hand-draw her name banners in many colors and make crafts to welcome her, and for her Christmas presents. I used to drag her out of bed at an ungodly hour to go open our presents. She brought me a cuckoo clock our last year in Mexico. It was beyond awesome.
She bought me a cool Sony alarm clock for our first Christmas in the US. She used to bring us torrone and pan dolce Genovese. Sometimes some gianduiotti as well. One year she bought me a rocking chair I had been eyeing at the local department store--I totally ruined the surprise because I sneaked into the "secret gifts room" when I had been told not to. It was hilarious and it was the best gift ever.
She always had her Settimana Enigmistica with her and, although she never went to high school, she was an expert at resolving even the most impossible rebus through years of experience.
After a couple of years of us having moved to the US she let me resolve some of the connect-the-dots games, and a couple of crosswords from her booklets during her visits. She also started mailing me some of the games that she hand-cut herself out of her magazines. She would leave these for me to fill out. Which I always promptly did whenever I got them. But she wanted me to use a rule so the lines would be straight! And of course, I was headstrong and would not use the ruler.
She used to make yummy minestrone alla genovese with homemade pesto and a lovely vegetable mix from the frozen food section. She had a preference for mushy broccoli with lemon juice or vinegar and olive oil.
I called her every day between June 2011 until pretty much she passed away. In between my yearly visits. I miss her a lot. I am lucky enough to still have her voice recorded on our answering machine from about four or five years ago, which I've also digitized and saved for posterity.