I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, Grandma Mira Lee Goldstein. She truly loved you. In 2014, I remember when you were planning to leave Denver in order to go back to Omaha to prepare for your class. However, at the last minute you decided to postpone your ticket and come back to 1000 Detriot Street. When you arrived and walked inside, grandma gave you a big hug, and she was SO HAPPY when she saw. Her day brightened up at your sight and presence. I think this hug happened every time she saw you when you initially arrived at her house. I remember every time I would arrive at her house, she would give me a big hug too.
I remember calling her when I was 3 or 4 years old. I cannot remember why I memorized her number. I remember when I was 3 or 4, I called 303-377-5492, and talked to her. I didn’t know why I called her, and I didn’t know who I was talking to; but, after I finished calling her, I remember that I really liked whoever I was talking to because I felt like we had a bond and connection. I don’t remember when I figured out that that was grandma and grandpa’s number, but I guess I did when I was smarter and a little bit older than that age.
When I was a kid, my grandma used to come into the back bedroom and say, “Good night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite” before bedtime. Sometimes, I would check for them. She would also kiss me goodnight.
After I would finish talking to her on the phone, she would always ask, “Is your mother there?” I would say, “I don’t know, let me go check.” Then, most days, I would find you in the library, and you would ask me, “Who is it?” I would say, “It’s grandma.” She always wanted to talk to you because she loved you very much.
I remember when Charles, the caregiver, said that after you left Denver one time, Grandma Mira Lee stood at the window and watched you leave and she started crying because she truly missed that you were leaving her.
I remember one time when we were looking at old family photographs in the living room couch at grandma and grandpa’s house together, we found a picture of you with Ed and Bonnie, and you were posing and grandma said, “She was good at being dramatic.”
I always remember going to Glenwood Springs with grandma. Every summer, I remember visiting her and grandpa, and I really enjoyed being with them. They were such good grandparents to me. I remember grandma and grandpa always would give me birthday money in the mail when I was growing up. I also remember that grandma and grandpa would visit me for my birthday every year. I remember when I was in second or third grade, grandma called and asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her that I wanted a “Harry Potter Polyjuice Potion Maker.” She said, “I don’t really know what that is, but I will see if I can find it at the store.” I cannot believe that she actually found it at the store and mailed it to me!
I remember coming to her house and eating the cinnamon sugar coated mandelbrot (Jewish biscotti) that she made. They were always sitting on the kitchen table with the toaster on it.
I remember when I would always visit her house, she would always ask, “Did you get some dinner?” I would say, “I’m not that hungry” or “I had something to eat earlier today.” Even if I wasn’t that hungry or if I had already had something to eat, she would say, “Go get something to eat in the kitchen!” Or, she would say, “Miss [to the caregiver], go prepare him something to eat” even though I wasn’t hungry. She would always ask if I wanted some dessert after the meal. I guess it’s a Jewish grandmother’s instinct to make sure her children and grandchildren have enough and more than enough to eat. 🙂 She reminds me of the Greek mother from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” In one scene, the mother says, “Toula eat something!” In another scene, she says to her daughter’s fiance, “Are you hungry?” He says, “Uh … no I already ate.” She smiles and replies, “I’ll make you something.” Fast forward to 53 seconds of this YouTube video to see what I’m talking about.
Credit: “Our Jewish ‘Greek’ Mama” via Forward magazine online
I remember during the Chanukah holiday, I would tell her on the phone that we are having a Chanukah party at our house. She would tell me that she also used to have parties for Chanukah and invite over a lot of people. I can tell where you got that tradition from and also your photo taking hobby (she has many photo albums at her house). I am so grateful that you took pictures of her with our family so that we can remember her.
I remember one time she told me on the phone that she was in South Dakota once and she was with her friends. They were smoking in the car and driving down the road. She said that she had a really fun time, but she didn’t smoke after that day. She asked me if I smoke, and I said no. She said, “That’s good.”
I remember one time I was in Denver in May of 2016. I told the caregiver that I was walking to the Cherry Creek mall. I was gone for 8 hours or something crazy like that. I don’t know why, but I kind of got sidetracked looking at everything for sale at the mall. The Apple store was really interesting. Anyways, when I walked back, to my astonishment, the caregiver and grandma were gone! My grandpa was there, and he asked me, “Did they find the lost boy?” I asked him, “What lost boy are you talking about?” Then, the phone started ringing, and it was Aunt Bonnie. I told her, “I don’t know where everyone is? NOBODY is watching grandpa, and grandma and the caregiver are gone!” I went outside with the cordless phone, and on the street corner I saw the caregiver and grandma pulling up to the house. “Oh there they are!” I told Aunt Bonnie. Eldi, the caregiver from Gabon, recognized me and said “There he is.” When Eldi and grandma got out of the car, she walked grandma up to the porch so that she could sit down. Eldi told me that grandma was so worried about me because I was gone so long. She persistently kept asking where I was and wanted to go find me. So, Eldi took grandma with her to go looking for me in Denver. I was the “lost boy.” While grandma was sitting down on the porch, after her exhaustive search, she had a worried, but relieved expression on her face. I told grandma “thank you so much for caring about me and looking for me.” She loved me so much to go looking for me.
I remember she would always sing songs on the porch. One of the ones I recall is the “Ragtime Cowboy Joe” song. I remember these lyrics that she would sing: “He’s a high-falutin’, rootin’, shootin’, Son of a gun from Arizona, Ragtime Cowboy, talk about your cowboy, Ragtime Cowboy Joe.”
I don’t think one obituary letter can summarize her life. She was one of the greatest people in my life. I am going to miss her very much. I’m also going to miss talking to her on the phone almost everyday. Sometimes, on the phone, she would tell me to, “Send my love to everybody in our family.” She was truly a wonderful person and everything you could ask for in a Jewish grandmother. I am so lucky that I got to grow up and know both of my Jewish grandparents. Some people don’t even get that opportunity. I hope she is looking down on our family from Heaven.
May her memory forever be a blessing.