In the picture, you can see my grandma Emily and little me. My parents were immigrants from Latvia who had to start a new life in New York City after WWII. My mom’s mom that is my grandma had stayed behind in Riga, Latvia. However, even though it was occupation time and time of the Iron Curtain my mom was determined to get my grandma to the states. Basically, because grandma was getting on in years and because she wanted to have her mom with her.
I don’t know what it took my parents to get my grandma to the states as I was only two but they managed to do it. There was a late-night ride to the airport and welcome grandma! Problem was my world involved my mom, dad, my beloved nanny (I woman who didn’t live with us but came to babysit), and a picture which mom always showed me saying it was grandma. Well, I was two so grandma was a picture and now they were telling me she was a human person coming to live with us.
Well, you can imagine the clashing of generations. A two-year-old born and being raised in New York City well versed in the rules and regulations of the New World and grandma from the Old World with set ways and values. It was rough going and I wasn’t going to make it any easier. Mom and dad would leave for work and the show could begin. I stuffed grandma’s wool socks into the oven while something was baking. I hid her glasses. I did everything to show my dislike. Grandma was supposed to stay in the picture with the frame around it.
Rotten little me. If my parents had known half of it they would have started wondering what in the world to do. Grandma loved her granddaughter no matter what and didn’t complain about what I did to her. It all came to a head one night when my parents stepped out. I forgot what but grandma did something wrong while putting me to bed. I stayed up well into the night standing and howling my head off until my parents came home. The next night they had no choice but to move my bed and all into their room. We were living in a three-room apartment.
This is when God had his say. Enough was enough. Soon afterward I had the worst nightmare a two-year-old could have and something I will never forget. I dreamt grandma and I were alone in the apartment when I played another one of my tricks. This time her wool socks caught on fire in the oven. The kitchen soon became engulfed in flames and I went screaming down the hallway calling my grandma. I actually began screaming in my sleep calling her. I woke up the entire household and probably a couple of neighbors too and grandma came rushing to my side. After that night grandma and I were the very best of friends. Sadly she became sick a couple of years later and died when I was seven years old. Love you, grandma.