Friday, April 18, 2014

Grandmother's House

It is around Easter again. When I was a kid, it was one of my favorite holidays. Christmas seemed over hyped and drained everyone. Halloween was neat but it was right before Thanksgiving which everyone passe over and then Santa came. Easter was it's own animal, that's why we had the bunny. Maybe it was Jesus's pet rabbit. Either way, Easter for Christians was the Resurrection of Christ. It meant the end of meatless Friday. It meant perhaps the weather would warm up. It also meant a trip to my grandparent's house.

Nunni and Pop Pop more often than not had Easter. We would always go, white or powder pink dresses and Easter bonnets. Sometimes my sister and I would decorate them in front of the television. Being the product of two teachers, television was a no no in our home on school nights. We didn't have cable anyway. So on weekends it was The War Channel, old movies on PBS, In Living Color, and Married... With Children if we were good. Then my sister and I would make our entrance. My grandparents Nunni and Pop Pop would be waiting.

My cousins and I would exchange notes on what the Easter Bunny bought, and we kind of knew it was our parents but we were okay with that. The ham was cooking along with either chicken or turkey, and for the record I smell both as I am talking to you. But what stole the show was the desserts my Aunt Mary made. Our Uncle Kent always had an Easter craft. Sometimes we would dye Easter Eggs or we would make them Russian Orthodox style. The colors on these eggs looked like a mixture of fashion disaster and hippie on acid driving a peace van. We would write our names on them with clear, wax crayon and you could see them when you dipped them into the tray. Yeah, they looked ridiculous but they were our ridiculous eggs.

Our most fun was the Easter Egg Hunt. Our aunts and uncles would hide the eggs in our grandparents backyard and we would have to find them. Sometimes the eggs were completely obvious, and sometimes they weren't. We would dive into the bushes and get grass stains on our dresses. We didn't care. It was Easter. Spring was finally here. School was like a bad movie almost over. Summer and pools were just a nod and a care away.

Of course my grandparents would enter as the ultimate comedy team. Nunni would open with some outlandish remark, and my Pop Pop would either be silent or he would have a retort of his own. Or sometimes my grandfather would tell us a silly story. Sometimes he turned into a gorilla, and one time he swore he met the Easter Bunny. My Nunni's pride and joy were the dolls she collected. She had inherited them from a grumpy old great aunt of mine. These were dolls from all reaches of the globe and they were kept in a glass case. My sister Skipper and I joked they could come to life. However, I think this is where I got the idea to play with dolls.

I have been thinking of my grandparents lately. My grandmother passed around Easter last year. I was lucky to have them as long as I did though. Nunni was 88 when she passed, and Pop Pop 95. In New York the dogwood trees are starting to bloom. They are white and powder pink like the dresses my sister and I used to wear on Easter. And they also remind me that summer is not far off.

Life has been kind of chaotic lately. I have a lot of things on the burner, and everything seems to be crashing off the rails. This next Tuesday, I am doing a headliner set where I film my DVD. It's a long set with four puppets, not just May Wilson. To say I wasn't nervous would be a freaking lie. I am nervous my fans won't show, I will tank, and I will get heckled at my own taping. I am nervous about everything, especially since the middle is not where I want and getting people to come is like pulling teeth. On top of that, I did a video call for a sports broadcasting gig today where my computer's sound kept fritzing out. I was like the Lamar Oden of the call, coming in and out as I pleased. Because my computer sucked I looked like a woman talking about sports. When I was done, the mods said they got a good sense of my voice. What? Opinionated basketcase. If that is the voice you got, you are correct. And then earlier this week something big for another project was lost in the mix and I had to scramble to find it. It would have been the end of the world if I didn't. Have a video call for that one Monday and I hope I have SOUND!!!!! And telegram deliveries were uber-busy. I am not complaining. I needed the money. Still though, I felt like I was accidentally going to run into a wall.

Tonight I went to give my friend postcards for my show. Steve Ryan, who is the Legendary Pot Roast next Tuesday, told me to stay and watch the puppet show he was stage managing. It was magical. It was mystical. The marionettes reminded me of my Nunni's doll collection. As my brain had been melting down all day, I felt a sense of peace. I could hear my grandfather's voice laughing and telling me it was going to be okay. He had been a war veteran and raised six kids. He had a good sense of humor about things.

Then I remembered how proud they were of me when I came to New York. How proud they were when they saw me on television. How proud they were when I wrote my book. I remember the Reader's Digest cut outs of jokes to use in my act. I remember my grandmother's inappropriate letters to me about family members and how she was a good sport about being fodder in my act.

Easter is about Resurrection. My grandparents went to church every first Saturday. It is a German Catholic tradition to ensure a peaceful passing. They lived long lives and were surrounded by those they loved. I also know somewhere, they are having a great time wherever the next stop on the journey is. Perhaps there they will meet my recently deceased friend Otto Petersen. They would get a kick out of him. My mother would be appalled, but my Nunni might make a new friend. Who knows, he is probably having dinner with them right now. Nunni probably saw Otto at McDonalds with George and brought him home. My Pop Pop as usual will just have to deal, especially when George starts talking and my Nunni gets a kick out of him.

My grandparents were wonderful, compassionate, and funny people. I was lucky to have them as long as I did. I know next Tuesday when my self-important self tapes my DVD they will be in my audience. And whatever happens with the next opportunity in my life, they will be there with me too. I can just see them on the other side saying, "That's my granddaughter. She's in New York and she's a big time comedian."

Miss you Nunni and Pop Pop. Happy Easter.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl

Come see me April 22nd @ 7pm
Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd st.

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