The Other Grandma
by Ann Haynes
I heard about her, all my life.
Just a devil, bane of my father’s existence,
judgement personified. (He’d married a Jew. So I am a Jew.)
Not the Nice One. The Other Grandmother.
Nana. Nana. Nana.
She died when I was two.
I remember the wake: my older cousins running around, chasing
a tin flying saucer toy. It whirred along the floor, lights flashing,
making such a noise.
They chased it, pushed each other at it. Ignored me,
scared out of my wits. Never saw the like.
The adult men would disappear into a room, come out louder.
I remember very well. They smelled funny.
My father’s face: gleeful.
My mother in all her classy glory,
keeping herself to herself, not saying one damn word.
The Catholic witch was no more.
But this photograph, just got it. It’s Nana and me.
I am maybe 8, maybe 9 months. She’s holding me.
I look happy. I’m glad to be there.
She doesn’t seem to think I’m a Jew.
She seems to think I’m a baby girl.
The arms encircling me look just like mine do now: long and lean.
My cousin described her ways, wrote it all down:
One thing I’ve noticed is, when I sit and pay bills,
I do it like Nana.
Ann Haynes is a mom, writer, part time bartender, and office worker. She often wants to say what’s what while on the job