This is some of what I plan to say tomorrow at her funeral...
What can I say about my Grandmother. I’ll start with her name. Nana. Nana Red Hair. We didn’t call her Nana Sandra. We couldn’t. Well, I couldn’t. For some reason, it came down to me. The first grandchild. I was not able to call her what my mom tells me she wanted to be called at first: Grandmama. Not only that, I couldn’t even pronounce Sandra. I just couldn’t say Sandra. So, the result, well, should be obvious. I called her Nana Red Hair. Then, we all did. And, though strong willed – more strong willed than anyone I know – she relented.
Anyhow, I’ll only speak briefly. Her first name wasn’t even Sandra. I can’t remember what it was, but it was a normal sounding name that a character in a novel or movie also had and she simply didn’t like it. So, she changed it. And no one could argue against the change. Have I mentioned that she was strong willed?
I’ll bookend this by jumping ahead decades. Well into her 90s, with me having moved back from Boston and living in L.A., she would somehow convince me to drive her everywhere. I mean everywhere…in a day. Pick her up in Westlake Village, pick up some relative somewhere in the San Fernando Valley , drive to Boyle Heights to visit her parents and aunts and uncles and cousins at the old Jewish cemetery. Then, it was off to Canter’s for a nosh – on her, of course – and then reverse the course, back to the Valley, back to Westlake Village and back home. I could have had a livery license, but I did it. She made me do it. And I loved it.