Sunday, May 11, 2008

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.
Cherish.

3 comments:

Selma said...

What a touching tribute to your family. I agree with you completely about revering people when we have them with us. It's so important!

KATE EVANS said...

"Never feel bad about yourself, or about your body. Feel beautiful, and you ARE!"

Wow, beautiful advice. (Wish I'd gotten it as a girl.)

Lisa Allender said...

Selma:
Hi there. Yep, my Mom(Demetra) is pretty fabulous. She "came into her own" the past several years(I think all Moms live so much for their family, they often miss out on discovering what they really need/want!)Thanks for the word-up!
Kate:
Georgia(my Yia-Yia)was defintely ahead of her time. I believe I posted--last Mother's Day--about how she gave me--I think I was 18 or so-- a book of Walt Whitman poems in a book which featured nude/semi-nude young men and women frolicking, celebrating their love, and their bodies(!) It was the 1970's....
She would love this whole "blogging" thing.