Grosa, My Beloved Grandmother

Besides my parents and my little sister the most beloved person was my grandmother, my mother's mother, 'Grosa' as we called her. Father's mother was, of course, very dear to us, but with her we did not have the same relationship as with Grosa because we saw her seldom and she was much older. Grosa lived with us all the time, until her death - she died a few days before my twelfth birthday. Grosa was the nanny who taught us songs and prayers, Grosa told stories whenever we asked, every day she brought us something from the market; for the smallest present we jumped on her lap and covered her with kisses - for pretzel, or a roll, or a pair of cherries on a V-formed stalk which we put over ears as ear-rings. Grosa had always some specialities; her cooking was a dream and when one of us did not like a certain dish, she prepared something else; this concerned me, as she knew exactly what I disliked. Mira ate everything 'that did not eat her' as my mother joked. My father was not pleased with this 'spoiling' but he did not oppose grandmother. However, as he and mother had no compassion with us in teaching us 'good manners' - compassion, no; patience, yes - hundreds times they repeated: 'do not leave food on your plate, especially not when you are invited, sit straight during your meals, do not lean back, do not put your elbows on the table, eat quietly, do not slurp your soup, do not drink before cleaning your mouth with a napkin, put your napkin on your lap before starting to eat, do not smack your lips, hold your knife higher; these and many other instructions echoed in our ears. With Grosa it was different; she permitted everything. Dear Grosa, she could not adjust herself to the new way of life. She belonged to another world. She was always dressed in black, she never talked about her past - we never asked her why-but we somehow sensed that she was sad. Although she taught us our first prayers she never went to the synagogue and mama told us that she had lost her faith after her husband's death. She was never idle, she liked to perform her duties: shopping, cooking or controlling the cook, mending the stockings or doing some wonderful needlework, yet she seemed unhappy. She hated all these new methods of education, Fr„uleins sleeping at our home, servants around her, the new dishes and courses introduced by mother when we came from abroad. Her end was quick; she had pneumonia and in three days it was all over. I cannot remember that she was ever ill or in bed. She died in our flat, in her room, the whole family around her. I shall never forget her last night and her heartbreaking sighs. Our room was close to hers. I could not sleep and was scared; mother sent me over to sleep in my parents' room - Mirica slept undisturbed. It seemed to me that the night would never end. The end however, came soon; that night my dear, sweet Grosa closed her eyes for ever. Table of Contents Youth