I knew this, somewhere in my frazzled excuse for a brain, but had apparently forgotten which is insane considering one of my favorite life moments was the evening I spent with my Nana in Florence, drinking vodkas and talking about love. I had just been dumped by a boy I adored and had spent the first half of our trip together writing love letters on European postcards, tearing them up, throwing them to the wind (Not really. That would be littering. But it sounded much more romantic than throwing them in the
recycle bin trash). It was my first time in Europe and everywhere we turned in Paris, Rome, Venice, there stood/sat/humped another gorgeous couple making out in the shadows of marble statues, serenading their beloved on Vespas, prancing around fountains in linen pants...
I confessed to my Nana that I was lonely and lovesick and wanted to come back here with a boy... I was nineteen then, crying over someone I had dated five-months (Woe! Spite! I'll never love again!) thinking little of the fact that my Nana, at seventy-one, was mourning the death of her husband for forty-five years, my grandfather, love of her life.
Not that she would ever discount my angst. I may have been ridiculous and self-centered and nineteen, but I meant well, even if I sounded like a fool.
"The last time I was here at this restaurant, I was with him," she explained.
She had taken me there on what would have been their 49th wedding anniversary. It was their favorite restaurant in Firenze, a beautifully romantic place with a view of the Ponte Vecchio and surrounding cityscape.
When our Bellinis arrived we toasted to Grandpa, to her beloved Lou.
"To love," my nana said.
Moments later, the pianist, who had been on break, sat down and started playing a song. This song. Nana burst into tears. I didn't know what was happening. Why she was crying. Why she suddenly stood to her feet to sing along to the music, dancing in the middle of the restaurant.
It wasn't until she sat down that she explained to me that the song the pianist had just played was their song. That Grandpa used to sing it to her and that she KNEW he was singing it to her right then, there, in their restaurant on their wedding anniversary. And so I cried. And she cried again. And we cried together and for the first time on our trip together I actually LISTENED for once. Listened to Nana tell me her love story. One of the greatest of all time.
Truly an unforgettable experience. Even if the soundtrack slipped my mind.
Last night I spoke to my other grandmother as well. My father's mother, Betty. She had seen Josephine Baker perform in Chicago, she told me. It was the early 50's and her and my grandfather were just married. She had gone with friends.
"I don't remember much except that she was a daring performer with an incredible body."
I hung up the phone with her and proceeded to study up on Josephine Baker - past her wiki page, explore who she was. I imagined my grandma in the audience, young twenty-something newlywed out on the town with girlfriends.
All of this from a song I posted casually, inspired by Fable's hair.
...Ah, but Blackbird was about SO much more than a tribute to a darling 'do! And so. I felt the need to include, here, a little homage to my grandmothers as well, both of whom are undoubtedly grand.
Speaking of undoubtedly grand... Nana wrote a guest post I'll be posting here in the next few days, complete with informative gardening videos that will change your life. (A follow-up to this post.) Stay tuned.
Also wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who nominated me for a Lifetime (holy shit!) Achievement Bloggy. I'm one of five finalists and am beyond honored to be nominated alongside Maggie and Alice who are two of the finest voices in this space. I feel like I've been blogging for a thousand years and apparently so do you! Ha! Seriously, though. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the love. I'm blown away.