Grandma Sandi was not a normal grandma.
She was feisty. She was a full-blooded Sicilian, and like Vizzini says “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.” She got offended when we didn’t call often enough, and she let us know. She followed our blogs and Facebooks avidly, and left long messages on both, always in all caps lock, like she was so excited to be talking to us that she was shouting.
She was fun. She went to Kenny Chesney concerts and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat productions. She always wore a crazy Santa hat on Christmas morning. She took me to get manicures before every homecoming and prom, and we’d talk while she got a pedicure. She let me practice driving her car before I got my driver’s license because I couldn’t drive my stick shift yet. She kept me filled in on all the family drama when I moved away after high school, and made me dozens of scarves and blankets because she was sure I would forget to dress myself properly and freeze to death outside of California.
She was everyone’s Grandma. All our friends growing up knew her and called her “Grandma Sandi,” not “your Grandma.” She made the best spaghetti this side of the Atlantic, with meatballs, sausages, chunky sauce and garlic bread. She taught me how to crochet and cook and she introduced me to musicals and old movies. She made me feel important, which was something vital to the third kid out of six who sometimes felt lost in the shuffle.
She passed away two weeks ago, and it’s still weird to think I can’t pick up the phone and call her. Even when my sister Robin and I were trying to figure out who to call and ask what the funeral plans were, my first thought was to call Grandma. I miss her, but I know that she can walk now, and she is with her family and friends that she hasn’t seen in decades. And now she gets to meet Elizabeth Taylor, too, which probably just thrilled her to pieces :)
Love you Grandma, and we'll see you in a little while!
*When I was three, I started calling her Debbie, and no one knew why. I don't remember ever doing it, but I still called her Debbie sometimes for fun.