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Stacey’s Slice of Life Story: Day #24

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When I woke up this morning, I got out of bed as usual. I went into our study, flicked on the light above my desk and checked my email. However, once I realized that it was Monday, my heart sank a bit. Today’s March 24th, I thought. It’s been one year since Grandma died.

I immediately changed my status on my Facebook Account from something about being happy about finishing our Family Haggadah to “Stacey is remembering her grandmother who died last year on this day.” When I did that, my eyes welled-up with tears. I miss the woman we affectionately called eBubbey (i.e., the “e” stood for electronic and the word “bubbey” was to say grandma in Yiddush since she was an e-mailing grandmother). This was my Florida Grandma, who learned how to use a computer in 1999. She perused the ‘net daily reading nytimes.com. Further, she emailed me lovely letters, which almost always ended with All my love, Grandma. It’s been a little over a year since I’ve gotten one of those e-mails… and I really miss them.

So much has happened in the year since she’s passed away that I haven’t had the chance to share with her: graduating from T.C., publishing a book with my students, moving to Rhode Island, and getting married. Therefore, no matter what happens during the day today, there’s no way that my Slice of Life for March 24th, 2008 will be about anything other than my beloved eBubbey.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

5 thoughts on “Stacey’s Slice of Life Story: Day #24 Leave a comment

  1. It’s wonderful to make these connections with literature and memories of grandparents and loved ones gone. Tuvia is been feeing very tender since he visited his dying friend and we sat with Armand’s daughter. No matter what the support it’s hard.
    Bonnie

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  2. Stacey, both your post and your comment are lovely. It’s four years since my grandmother passed away and I still miss her so much. I love how you connected your story with your grandmother to so many different books. I’ll be thinking of you and your eBubbey today.
    –Stacie

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  3. I shared this with Pati (of http://peaceeveryday.blogspot.com/) when her Mom died about a week ago. I didn’t want to share it up on the main page, but figured I’d tuck-in the eulogy I delivered at my Grandmother’s Funeral as a comment. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written since I think it truly captured everything I wanted to say as I stood by her graveside last March.

    My grandmother read to me as a young child. She waited patiently as I watched commercials on television as a three year-old and resumed reading when the show was back on. We played “Library,” which was a mindless game I invented, together on the couch of her Florida condo countless times. It was a pretty silly game, but she never grew weary of playing it with me, nor did she ever grow tired of reading Curious George Goes to the Hospital to me. My grandma loved books and reading, just as I do an elementary school educator. Therefore, as a tribute to the love of reading she instilled in me at a young age, I’ve chosen to focus on a few chidlren’s books to help me put my grandmother’s life, and my relationship with her, into context before you today.

    Patricia MacLachlan wrote What You Know First, which is a tale of a child leaving the prairie since her parents decided to move the family closer to the water. The girl didn’t want to move away because she loved the prairie, which is what she knew first. This makes me wonder if Grandma was like this little girl, leaving behind what she knew first in Brooklyn so that her beloved Morris could have a better quality of life in Florida. Once in Florida, Grandma always held the City of New York dear… watching WOR News and going online to nytimes.com to check the NY news. Grandma loved everything about her hometown. Whenever I called her from my cell phone she always asked me where I was and what I was doing, somehow living vicariously through me. I’ve come to realize that the hometown that each and every one of us know first is something that no one can take away from you even if you move away from it. The memories, the sights, and the smells stay with you, just as they did for Grandma’s treasured City of New York.

    In the book, The Relatives Came, Cynthia Rylant gives us the picture of what it’s like to have company staying in one’s home. Everything about a house changes when the relatives came to town in Rylant’s picture book. When the relatives came the house filled up with people and hugs. The sound of the breathing from the additional people made the night noises sound different as well. Every June, the sounds in our house became different, too, when Grandma and Grandpa came to town. I liked how the house felt different and never minded sharing things like my bathroom… in fact, it felt kind of fun to share it with them. Plus, I always liked being sandwiched between the two of them in our car. Having Grandma and Grandpa leave at the end of the two weeks was always sad at first, but I always knew they’d be back the following June for another two weeks filled with hugs and kisses.

    The Graduation of Jake Moon, by Barbara Park, reminds me of my teenage years with Grandma. Like Jake, I often grew frustrated with my grandmother at the age of 13, and 14, and 15, and 16, and, well, you understand where I’m going with this. As I matured, I realized that I needed to have more patience with my Grandmother. Therefore, somewhere in my mid-20’s I apologized to her for the first, of many times, for my obnoxious teenage behavior. I’m so lucky to have had the opportunity to apologize for my actions. Because she loved me, she extended forgiveness to me in return for my sincere apologies.

    I’ve yet to find a children’s book that includes a grandmother who e-mails her family. Perhaps the story of eBubbey needs to go out into the world; for it’s a story of determination regarding the use of technology… or perhaps it’s really the story of attempting to figure out how to make technology work for oneself.

    In literature, there are many stories about the love between grandmothers and grandchildren, but not about the “vacuum kiss” or the “grab-and-kisses” or the “love pah-tches” Grandma so often gave to those she loved. There are stories like The Wednesday Surprise, by Eve Bunting, where you read about a grandmother and her granddaughter cooking together. So nice. However, there aren’t any stories about grandmothers who set dishtowels on fire when they cook!

    Grandma was the author of her own life. She lived how she wanted to live regardless of our feelings, opinions or beliefs. She lived out her life in her own home. I truly admire her for that since she is one tough lady.

    In her book, Thank You Mr. Falker, Patricia Polacco refers to the day her Babushka passed away as the day she “let go of the grass.” Saturday, March 24th, 2007 was the day that my Babushka “let go of the grass.” Her soul is now in heaven and her next journey has begun.

    Now that she is in heaven, I would like you to reflect on all of your special times with my grandmother. I’m sure, together, we could put together a collection of short stories. I know I have a couple of picture books I would love to write on small moments I shared with her. I urge you to write down your Idie Stories tonight so that her memory continues to live on.

    There’s a book by Harriet Zaifert I often pull out for my fifth grade students when they’re having a bad day. It’s called Misery is the Smell in Your Backpack. It basically defines what misery is in the hopes of making the reader put their bad day into context. However, we are not in misery. Today is not a less-than-perfect day; in fact, it’s a bright one. I’m thinking of today as a celebration of the beginning of Grandma’s next journey. After 17 years apart, my Ebubbey and my Grandfather who I continue to miss so much each and every day, are reunited. And for that, I am anything but miserable as I stand before you today. I am so happy for they are together again.

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