My grandmother’s favorite color is pink. Not pastel pink, hot pink or girlie pink, but a particular shade of pink that any member of my family can readily identify as “Grandmother Pink.” The only exception to the established nomenclature is my dad. Much to my mom’s embarrassment, he always refers to the color as “titty pink.” This language is so out of character that it still elicits giggles every time he says it.
I remember my first grade class play. My best friend Melinda was cast as one of the Three Billy Goats Gruff. She had actual lines. I was cast as one of the Harvest Hills parents. My only line was in unison with 20 other first graders saying “We’re the Harvest Hills parents!” The only thing that made this injustice somewhat palatable was Grandmother outfitting me for my theatrical debut. She gave me a fantastic ensemble complete with skirt, blazer, matching heels, pillbox hat and purse — all in Grandmother Pink. I may have been stuck playing a Harvest Hills parent, but I wasn’t about to blend in!
Years later, my grandparents decided to remodel their master bath. I remember the first time I saw it after the renovation. My grandmother decided on a large square bath tub, matching tile, sink and toilet in — you guessed it — Grandmother Pink. Grandpa had his own separate bathroom down the hall, a refuge in manly brown and beige.
Declining health forced my grandmother into a nursing home. My mom came across several bags of yarn while clearing out the house after the move. She shipped most of it to me. My intent was to pass it along to a friend who knits. Months later the giant box of yarn was still sitting in my closet until one night when I took matters into my own hands. YouTube and the internet replaced what would have been my grandmother’s knitting instruction, but she was there — represented by the 4 skeins of yarn in Grandmother Pink. That was several hats, scarves, glomitts and a sweater ago.
My grandmother died today. It wasn’t unexpected. She spent the last few years suffering from Alzheimer’s and more recently pneumonia. My sister called to give me the news. In the background, I could hear the bustle of my parents, aunt and cousins putting prearranged plans into action. As we were talking, she briefly left our conversation to correct some unidentified person saying “No! It’s supposed to be a spray of PINK roses!”