Thursday, August 15, 2013

grannie endora

When I was a kid my favorite television show was Bewitched. Mostly because I wanted to be as cute and hip as Samantha, and be able to twitch my nose and make magical things happen. But there was also something else about the show that I liked. Endora. She was the ultimate nosy mother-in-law, and the bane of Darrin (Derwood, Darwin)'s existence. But she also represented a different kind of grandmother image. And I needed that.

A disapproving Endora (Agnes Moorehead) considers her daughter Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery).

Endora loves her granddaughter Tabitha (Erin Moran).

My dad's mom, my Italian grandmother, was everything we are brought up to expect a grandmother should be. She was a great babysitter when my parents needed her, and an even greater cook. She may not have baked cookies, but she made amazing southern Italian dishes — from caponata to pasta and beyond. She also made delicious coffee cakes.

Grandma and me. She also made the dress I'm wearing.
exotic Mariette
Glamorous Gran'mere, on vacation in Hawaii.
But my mother's mother, "Gran'mere," as we were encouraged to call her, was a different kind of grandmother entirely. She was exotic and glamorous. She was a world traveler who we would only get to see when she made it to our neck of the woods in New Jersey. She was also very loving, much like the eccentric Endora was to little Tabitha on Bewitched. Could a grannie dress in such a fancy way and still be your grannie? Thanks to a pop culture sitcom, I felt that she could.

Neither Endora nor my Gran'mere Mariette ever baked any chocolate chip cookies that I know of. But I bet if either Tabitha or I wanted some, Endora would have produced them with an elegant wave of her hand, and my grandmother would have surely taken us out, dressed to the nines, for some delicious dessert.
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