Grand parents, that's what they are. All my childhood memories are warm, sweet, magical moments of being loved and fed by the most amazing and curious people I'd ever known. For my own children, my parents became these wonderful beings as they guided them, cherished them and acted as role models while I was busy trying to figure out single-parenting. God bless Grandparents.
This is all three of my grandparents, but we'll get to Nana in a second. Oscar (middle) and Agnes (right) Eastman were my dad's parents. I don't think I ever saw Grandma without her arms wrapped tightly to her waist. She was probably holding in laughter at her grandkids because we always seemed to confound her. But that didn't stop her from making sure we all had something good to eat and a clean bed to sleep in. Papa was always in the background, but not so much that we didn't know that he couldn't fix anything that popped a spring or lost a wheel. He was a Fuller Brush man and even though we didn't have a clue what that was, we knew he was part of some legendary team who brought people essential potions for daily living. Half of them were in their bathroom closet.
Here's Nana - Helen Russell, in an early studio photo. She was something - the world's first single mom. At least that's what I always thought of her. She lived in an apartment with a French poodle named Gigi, rumored to be the sister of the dog belonging to the Queen of Romania. I never once doubted it. Nana used to make us colored milk when we went to visit - she was an artist, you know. That's how artists drink their milk - blue, pink, orange. Everyone knows that. When we used to go visit her in New York, we thought we were the coolest kids ever, "my grandmother lives in an apartment in New York City. Where did you say your grandmother lived?" She let us have every single version of her life that we imagined without spoiling it with the reality that she was really just a commercial artist who worked in a small office with a view of the Empire State Building. How cool is that?
These hip folks are my kids grandparents - Warren and Pattie - aka Grandma and Papa. They live in Florida part-time and Maine part-time and drive back and forth in between. I'm lucky that they still come and spend a week or so with us at each end of the trip. They are as interested and involved in my kids lives as they always were, and, even if my kids don't know it yet, were an integral part in their growing up. But they'll realize it one day. Maybe they'll even write a blog about it.
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