When I was a child my parents owned bars. Establishments to drink alcohol in. Pubs.
I’ve long attributed that many of the behaviors I saw in those establishments was a life long blessing that prevented me from drinking. That, and the fact that alcohol tastes horrid.
There was one bar my dad owned that I remember more clearly than the others. It was the last one. Maybe Anna was at the bar before the last one and came to the last one as well, I don’t know.
But I remember Anna.
It makes me sad that I don’t remember much about Anna. But I do remember her.
I used to think she talked funny. It wasn’t until I was older and thinking about her that it dawned on me she spoke with an accent. One of the things that makes me sad, is I don’t know what her accent was. Where did she come from. Was she married? Did she have children.
So I asked mom. Anna was Italian. She always walked fast, as if she was in a hurry (I wonder if that’s where I picked up my speed walking tendency). Anna was very pigeon toed. And suddenly I remembered these things as soon as mom told me. Mom said Anna walked most every place. In the cold weather she would be bundled up and her head would be covered with my Grandpa called a babushka.
I didn’t know that Anna always told mom she loved her. And she would make mom liver and onions (blech) and on special occasions would make mom a frittata. I don’t know what a frittata is, or have a clue how to spell it. Mom said it had eggs and vegetables in it.
Mom thinks my older siblings could tell me something about Anna.
But I kind of like just wondering about her. If she was still alive, I would go find her. But mom said she never even knew Anna’s last name. And Anna was “old” back when I was a child. Chances are good….she’s no longer alive. Other than in mine or other’s memories.
Mom said the patrons of the bar would tease Anna endlessly. Anna would come in early in the day to make the chili and hamburgers for the nearby factory workers who came in for lunch. They would ask her if she put meat in the chili this time or just tie a string to a fly and drag it through. I asked if they did this teasing nicely, mom said yes, everyone liked Anna. Because for a minute there I felt a little defensive of Anna. Even though I don’t know much about her.
I remember her giving me a card on the event of my graduation from eighth grade. And I remember she signed it “love Anna”. I asked mom, because I remember it to be so, didn’t Anna treat us all very good? She said yes. Anna was a very good person.
Maybe that’s why I think of her. Because I remember goodness, even though I don’t remember details.
I remember her fondly. It doesn’t matter how much I recall. I think it’s feeling good about people we remember, that matters. And I think it’s a grand thing to have had people in our lives, to recall with fondness.
As grand as it would be to be remembered fondly.