The clearest memory I have is of cinnamon apples. My sisters and brothers would say fudge—chocolate, or peanut butter, or maple, but I stand by cinnamon apples. Years ago, I mentioned those apples, how sweet, and crisp and unnaturally red, like pickled beats. Someone said they are sold in cans at holiday time, that Grandma didn’t make them, but bought them and served them whenever we visited. I don’t care. I love the memory of her cinnamon apples.
My paternal grandmother will forever be my idea of what a grandmother is. She was a soft, warm bun of a woman, gray-haired and virtually blind. She lived in a trailer a few hours north-west of where I grew up. Everything about her was homemade.
The trailer’s crafted-up interior was filled with afghans and crochet dolls. Her chair sat along side a small table she used to keep her large-print Reader’s Digest and over-sized magnifying glass. To get to the bathroom, one had to pass through the kitchen and squeeze past the plant table with its buzzing purple glow and trays of african violets. I loved to visit this place, to poke around. There were so many textures.
Grandma died when she was 74 of a heart attack. I don’t remember the year or how old I was. I don’t remember my reaction to the news or the funeral and dinner after. And yet, how clear it is, her home, her face, her coke-bottle glasses. I can feel her chubby mama’s arms and taste the cinnamon apples.