WASHINGTON – I have them with me every day. Not just in my thoughts — where they are so often — but also on my physical being.
I wear my grandpa’s wristwatch — a gold-plated Timex that keeps ticking — and my grandma’s tiny, thin, gold ring — one on my left hand, one on my right.
At the holidays, when extended families and friends get together, I remember them even more than usual. The two of them were everything I could have ever dreamed of in a grandparent.
George Goldstein. With his George Burns-like cigars, he was sweet, smart, funny, inquisitive and loving. Oh, so loving! Nothing ever seemed more important to him than his grandkids. I adored his silly sense of humor, and I always felt incredibly cared for and protected when I was with him.
Cele Goldstein. The quintessential Jewish grandma. Loving, doting, funny and always cooking and/or wanting to feed someone. As a little girl, she pretended to scrub off dirty socks and mittens when she gave me a bath. She made freshly- squeezed orange juice every morning.
My brother and I would get to visit George and Cele in the Bronx, N.Y, for the weekend. It felt like the biggest treat to do so. It was where we were spoiled with trips to the nearby “park” and walks to the corner luncheonette to sit at the counter and drink chocolate egg creams or buy candy.
I can still smell the freshly laundered sheets on the bed I would share with my grandma during those weekend sleepovers; my brother and grandpa in the other room of their small apartment. I remember hearing the trains rolling by all night long and the sound of my grandpa snoring. To me, those are the sounds of comfort and joy.
I stare at my watch and my ring a lot. I think of how lucky I am to have had them demonstrate what it is to love like nothing else matters. In my view, they wrote the book on how to be the best grandparents — without ever even thinking about it. My mom and dad must have read every chapter, because they are truly the same way with my kids.
Over the years at the holidays, when I would travel with a multitude of friends to visit them once they retired to (where else?) Florida, I think about them. And I always miss them.
Thank you grandma and grandpa for everything I probably never thanked you for. I will continue to wear you both, and feel you wrapped around me, always.
Editor’s Note: Off the 8’s is a new WTOP Living feature, in which staff inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center share stories from their lives when they’re off the clock.