|Esther and Joe, 1940|
Note how she
shows off her legs!
I'm named for my maternal grandfather Joseph, who died before I was born. So my grandmother was widowed young and never remarried. She was a constant presence in my earliest years, before we left New York. When we moved to Cincinnati, Nanny took her own apartment in Yonkers.
|1961: I am 2 years old|
and my sister is 6 months
Nanny came to visit us every year for a month at a time. We carried on with our usual lives. Mom and Dad worked, my sister and I went to school, and when we came home, Nanny was there. She was a diabetic and so we always had special treats when Nanny came to visit.
My grandmother also had breast cancer. I don't know how old she was at the time of her diagnosis, but she had a mastectomy. I once saw her breast form drying in the bathroom and it took me a long time to figure out what it was. We never discussed her health, and she lived a long time after her cancer treatment. She was in her 80s when she died. A look at her birth and death certificates reveal that she was a few years older than her husband, a secret she never told my mother.