My Siranoush medzmama (my dad’s mother) was a real character. She was the matriarch of our family and showed her love with bastukh and Juicy Fruit gum. She was also a source of constant entertainment. Here’s just a sampling of her zany eccentricities:
- Back in the 80s when we all had answering machines, she would attempt to leave messages in English (which she barely spoke), thinking the machine didn’t understand Armenian.
- Between all the uncles, aunts and cousins, she had a steady supply of visitors. But for the two minutes in the day when no one was over, she would complain that we all abandoned her and no one ever visited her.
- She lost her eyesight toward the end of her life and once ate laxatives out of her fridge thinking they were chocolates (in her defense, they WERE wrapped in foil).
- She wouldn’t let any of us edge her out of a conversation (Beedee khoseem!). Or tell her what she could or couldn’t eat (Beedee oodem!). Or tell her what not to do (Beedee unem!).
- Although she was a rather large woman, she didn’t quite view herself that way. My cousins once offered to go shopping for her, and asked her what size dress she wore. She looked at my svelte cousins and said, “I don’t know. Probably whatever size you are.”
Siranoush medzmama was awesome. She was a lot of fun to be around. Whenever we got together she would have us push the coffee table aside, put on some music, and have a dance party. She loved being with family and she loved to have fun.
There was no changing my grandmother. She was who she was – you took the bad with the good.
There are some people in my life I wish I could change, and I’ve tried. I finally got it through my thick skull that I can’t change anyone. Now the rule of Siranoush regularly comes into play: Siranoush is Siranoush. People are who they are, and you take them as they are.
Especially if they eat laxatives and love dance parties.
OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.