Things About My Grandma

  1. She was a prodigy concert harpist and pianist, played in an orchestra as a teenager. Even when she had arthritis in her hands, she played beautifully
  2. She was ferocious in her opinions (deeply liberal) and bitingly funny in arguing them. Never condescending, but in my grandpa's words "you don't say no to Joan"
  3. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world to watch my cousins and I introduce poor unsuspecting boyfriends to our enormous family. The boyfriends always adored her.
  4. In her later years she wrote trivia questions for a living, was a well of interesting facts
  5. She loved the ocean and animals. She donated money her whole life to ocean conservancy programs and animal adoption agencies
  6. She had a cat named Butch Cassidy
  7. After college she worked for a summer in the children's department of the New York public library uptown. She lived near Julliard and talked about sitting on her fire escape in the evenings, while music students practiced on their fire escapes. Like an improvised symphony.
  8. She came to every graduation, every art show, every ballet performance. She always brought flowers and occasionally heckled the other kids
  9. She loved blue, she loved my blue eyes.
  10. She had 13 grandkids and never forgot a birthday
  11. On my tenth birthday she took me to universal studios. She brought a cane and got us to the front of every line. When I was scared to go on the Jurassic park ride she told me to never be afraid of life. You'll miss out on too much fun.
  12. She loved to read, she loved libraries, she loved aquariums, she loved to travel to foreign countries alone, she loved sparkly jewelry.
  13. She was the best impromptu story teller I ever met
  14. When she was very sick, she was still cracking jokes. Lying in bed she told me "I'll put in a good word for you, well, depending on where I go"
  15. When she passed away last week, among others, three of her daughters and four of her granddaughters were in the room. I couldn't help but look around the room at these strong beautiful women that exist because of her, and feel lucky.
  16. We were lucky to love her, and lucky to be loved by her. I'll miss her.