Nigel Savage
Sitting on an aeroplane, while Grandma dies, p.3


For our nuclear family it’s the end of an era. Grandma was born in 1907, remembers the start of the First World War, lived through the Blitz, was married for more than fifty years and lived alone, after Grandpa’s death, for another twenty years. Until these last four or five weeks she lived by herself in a council flat in Salford. Grandma was friends, to the very end, with many of her neighbors. She never owned a home, never learned to drive, left school when she was 13. She was born when there were horse-drawn carriages on the streets and when powered flight was newer than the internet is today. She had two daughters, tragically lost two sons each at an early age, and lived to see and chat and play with her great-grandkids. For many years she went and visited “old people,” though long before she stopped doing so the people she was visiting were mostly younger than she was herself.

Even over the course of this last weekend, on the moments she was happy, and there were a good many of them, she smiled a big smile, with her soft and quite smooth old lady’s skin and her white hair and her false teeth (though you wouldn’t have known). Her smile was genuine and warm and I think she smiled so comfortably because her facial muscles were used to smiling so genuinely for so many years. As long as I’ve known her she’s smiled at me with love and happiness. She represents to me a lot that’s good and clear in the world. I hope I manage to smile some of her smile and live some of her kindness after she goes.

In memoriam:
Golda Bayla Bas Oiser; Gertrude Myers, nee Davies
born 28th December 1907;
died 28th August 2003, 30 Av 5763 / Rosh Chodesh Elul, aged 95

[1]       [2]       3
Image: Akiva Kenny Segan, Laja Lederman with Daughters (1996)

Nigel Savage, originally from Manchester, England, is an Englishman in New York.

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From previous issues:

Two Prayers for the Days of Awe
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

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On Eighth Avenue in New York
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