Once upon a time, there was a young Greek girl, named Georgia.Her parents named her Georgia, because they were headed to Savannah to start their business(a Greek bakery), and it was considered good luck to have a child named for where you lived... Her parents were old-school, prudent, hard-working immigrants from Thessalonika(northern Greece--an area filled with mountains)and Athens, where several relatives still live today. Georgia was a cheerleader in school, an actress who I recently learned, wrote poems. She married a bright, charming handsome man who unfortunately drank too much, but who loved her as best he could. Fathered four children with her. One of them was Demetra, a raven-haired petite woman with large eyes and cheekbones that remind one of Gina Lollobrigida . Demetra married a blond man named J. R. and they had two children--Lisa, and Tina. Demetra passed along the wisdom of her mother, Georgia,
"Never marry a man who drinks."
"Never feel bad about yourself, or about your body. Feel beautiful, and you ARE!"
"If someone does a kindness for you, say thank you. Better still, write them a thank you note. If they worked for you, performed a service, or gave you great service, write a note to their boss."
And our Yia-Yia did this, consistently.
Many people wrote her to say how her letter had gotten them a raise, a promotion, or a better job. Her words of praise for other peoples' kindness touched many people's lives, as did her own kindness.Yia-Yia(Greek for Grandmother) was adviser, and mother to ALL Of us.
Demetra has been without her mother, and Tina and I, without our beloved Yia-Yia, for over twenty years now.
The other day, in line at Target, I saw several young men and women, their hands full of cards--one for their Mom, of course, and two others--one for each grandmother. I felt jealous of them. And then, ashamed that I was jealous.
Although I haven't had a grandmother in many years, I was very fortunate to have one for thirty years, and another for even longer.
My parents' character was formed by these women--my mother's stick-to-it-iveness; her edg-y sense of humor, her quick wit; my father's dogged persistence; his ability to hop from one subject to the next with great ease; his curiosity. My Yia-Yia, and Grandma Dorothy, My Theya Helen(my Great Aunt, Yia-Yia's sister, who died only last year--a dynamo of energy, political/philosophical thinking, and supporter of all arts), you are the Mothers I salute.Rest in Peace, dear Mothers.
To all of you, who still have your Mom--revere what you have.