Friday, February 26, 2010

Yartzeit




On the Yartzeit (Yid. "anniversary"), the soul is at its greatest strength and in its fullest glory. With each ensuing year, this radiance again shines forth in the world and in the Heavens, as the soul is elevated to a higher spiritual level...

from Chabad.org

This is the first year anniversary of death of my Grandmother. My sister posted this very glamourous picture of her and I thought I would share another story of this amazing woman who influenced so many.

For much of his career, my Grandfather traveled quite a bit, leaving my Grandmother to raise their three daughters without his presence. As anyone who has raised children knows, this can take quite a toll on the resident parent. After one overseas trip or another, my Grandfather said to my Grandmother; "Helen, you have really let yourself go." Years later, when my Grandmother told me the story, she emphasized that she didn't think he was meaning to be unkind, he was just very tired and glad for the opportunity to say anything to the one person he didn't need to edit himself for. Even so, in telling me the story decades later, I could hear just how much the words stung.

A few months later, my Grandfather left for a short trip, and since he wouldn't be away all that long (and, traveling light, had little luggage), it was decided that he and my Grandmother would meet at the opera and have a night out together, upon his return. As soon as he left, my Grandmother went shopping for (for lack of better word) a Va-Va-Voom type dress and shoes, and then went and had her hair bleached and dyed platinum blond. At the agreed upon meeting place in the lobby of the opera, she had the pleasure of watching my Grandfather walk past her, and do a double take before accepting that she was, in fact, his "dowdy" wife.


He never criticized the way she looked, ever again.

1 comment:

Ann said...

I love this story. My grandmother's name was Helen, too, and the remark your grandfather made sounds spectacularly like one my grandfather might have made to her. I'm glad your grandmother realized he was only speaking freely with the one person he could do so with, but still...and very glad she ramped up on the glamour! I miss that time, and I miss my grandparents, too.