I was always very close to my Grandmother. Her name was Catherine Pomarolli, but loved ones called her Kitty. I called her Grandma. She was a strong Irish girl raised in Indiana, the oldest of 10 kids born in 1914. She had the mom gene from birth and a gift for taking care of people, especially with her cooking. When we'd come over for Sunday dinner there was always enough food for an army. I don't think she knew how to cook for fewer than 15 people. Whether it was her homemade vegetable soup or her stuffed egg plant, grandma's kitchen was always filled with the smells of love. I used to watch her peel 100 potatoes and not even break a sweat. On Christmas Eve she'd partner up with my other Grandmother and spend hours upon hours making a holiday turkey and stuffing feast fit for a king.
I have a million memories of my grandma. Some I thought were mortifying--like the time she made it so I was sitting next to Thomas Johnson in mass so we could hold hands during the "Our Father.” Or the times she interviewed the boys who were calling my house before giving me the phone. Back before I came along my grandparents met on the dance floor at the Greystone Ballroom in Detroit. He took one look at her and they danced into 60 years of marriage together, raising two boys and overcoming a lot of storms. I've seen the pictures of Kitty in her younger days, all dazzled up with her high heels and sparkly jewels, but to me I mostly remember her standing in the kitchen over the sink or letting me brush her thick beautiful white hair while we watched “Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island” on Saturday Nights. She was my buddy and I miss her. A long fight with Alzheimer's Disease took her from us about 18 years ago. A part of my heart is still missing since she left. I know she's probably in Heaven cooking for Jesus and about 1000 of his disciples, and I"m sure my grandpa Eli is up there following her around as well. I do hope there is a ball room dance floor where my grandparents can strut their stuff with the angel choir. I'm sure it has a horn section.
I was home recently visiting my parents and my dad presented me with a box and inside it were my grandmothers costume jewelry she wore in the 1930s. It's funny--a lot of that stuff is back in style now. But this was the stuff that inspired it all, pearl necklaces with diamonds and feathers, silver chains with pill boxes attached, beads and beads of colored stones, and the most exquisite broaches you've ever seen .There was also her Catholic Rosary and her name tag from S and H Green stamps the store where she worked. As I took each and every jewel in my hands and ran back and forth to try them on I was a little girl again . I remember doing this same thing when I was about 6, sneaking into my own mom's jewelry box and trying on necklaces. I have a 5 year old little princess named Lucy. She came running over and asked if she could try on one of the special necklaces and I put a pretty yellow one around her neck. Her face lit up because she knew who it originally belonged to. It's funny because the wedding ring on my finger is actually hers. We had it resized and reset but when someone compliments the beautiful diamond I tell them it belonged to her first.
I gathered up all my precious new jewels and took them home with me to CA. Tonight as I was putting each new gem into my own jewelry box it was like these jewels had given me a part of my grandma back. The hole in my heart felt a bit smaller. When I put a piece of her jewelry on myself it's like I am carrying a piece of history with me, one that I will pass onto my daughters one day. I will continue to teach them about their great grandmother and all the stories of her legacy. I carry these memories with me in my heart, her laugh, her joking with my grandpa in the kitchen, the time we walked all the way to church on a Saturday night for my Sunday school class party and we forgot her homemade cookies so we walked all the way home and back to get them. Sometimes God winks at us and gives us an unexpected gift--like these precious jewels. I know that's what she was to me. And now I have my littlest baby girl Ruby Joy which means “God's precious gem,” and Lucy which means "Bringer of Light" as the sparkling gems in my life. Thank you, God, for putting Jewels in my life.
Friday, April 19, 2013
|Kerri Pomarolli & Ron McGehee||April 2013|
Thursday, April 11, 2013
|Kerri Pomarolli & Ron McGehee||April 2013|