The last gift I remember getting from both my Nanny and Pop-Pop Posch was a golden vest from Escapade in the Baldwin Shopping Center on Grand Avenue.
Usually Nanny would be in charge of the gifts, and always skewed younger. Every little girl with blonde hair reminded her of me – I know this because she told me approximately 159,000 times in 39 years. Which is not to complain, but mourn that there will not be time number 159,001.
My childhood bedrooms, later adult apartments, and sometimes in the leaner years, storage spaces, were filled with figurines and cards featuring blonde little girls that Nanny never stopped giving me until just this past year. There was a period in my tween years, before we called it tween and just called it awkward, where I think that I feared she wished I would stay young and cute, all while I fought zits, terrible hair, and the overall ‘80s onslaught.
Except that her “action gifts” always fit not just my age but me to like, the nth degree.
When I expressed interest in musical theater at 12, she organized a day with Pop-Pop to take me to see “Into the Woods” in Port Jefferson. Afterwards, we walked along the water, then went to Friendly’s. Friendly’s was something I’d always put on the list. Nanny would always ask me to make a list of things I wanted to do with her and Pop-Pop on the days they watched me when I was little. So no matter how old I got, she always tried to work Friendly’s into the mix.
When I was turning 14, she took me to aforementioned-Escapade. As I traveled on foot and by Mom’s and friends’ moms’ cars, I’d not ventured much out of Baldwin Harbor, various malls, and Tri-County Flea Market, shopping-wise.
Nanny and (probably unwittingly but always willing to get outside his comfort zone for family) Pop-Pop changed my shopping world that day. Nanny was SO excited – an Escapade hipster! – as she showed me this tiny, yet super-cool and also kind of affordable little clothing store. As she pointed out, it was either a walk or a bus ride away.
So that summer, I learned how to ride the bus (though I did walk sometimes!). Nanny may have been Depression-era and a traditional lady, but man did she have sassy independence. When I got married in ’03, she handed me a five-dollar bill and told me that her mother always said that a woman needed to have her own money. In her stories of later years, she laughed about how desperately my Pop-Pop and everyone around her wanted to get married, but she just wasn’t ready yet.
Eventually she was. Eventually they got married, and had a beautiful life with two kids and grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors – so many people, who just loved them with all of their hearts.
Mine included. And I’m going to keep telling stories about my Nanny, hoping to keep her memory alive while also hoping that she’s up in Heaven dancing away with my Pop-Pop, who according to my aunt, only learned how to dance because he was a simultaneous perfectionist and doting partner.
To be continued 🙂
Golden Vest. 159,001. Into the Woods. I miss Friendly's.
I always enjoy your travels and escapades. Keep going!