My grandmother died Monday morning.  You can read other tributes here and here (and the obituary here).

Effie Aubrey was 97 years old, born in 1912, just a week before Robert Scott reached the South Pole.  A month before Arizona was admitted to the United States, and two months before the Girl Scouts were founded.  Two and a half months before Japan gave the cherry trees to Washington DC, and three months before the Titanic sank.

She turned seven the day that Buffalo Bill Cody died, and turned eight the day that the League of Nations first met.

I remember her as being gently over-weight.  Not fat, but definitely not slim.  I think she liked to eat.  I know she liked to cook.  She had a small kitchen in the trailer that was her home, but it was jam-packed full of stuff.  Baking dishes, ingredients, and stuff.  Stuff like an egg cuber (borrowed picture), which I now have to call my very own.

But she could bake.  She made the best little round cookies – spherical,  and then dipped in chocolate.  It wasn’t the Ohio “buckeye” – Grammy’s cookies transcended even the best buckeyes.  They were made from coconut, and nuts, and there had to be some filler to hold it together.  The chocolate was not the soft chocolate of a frosting, but was a hard shell surrounding most of the cookie.  I remember them being packed in metal containers, with plastic wrap between the layers.

And then there’s crabapple conserve.  It’s not a jelly or a jam, but it’s along those lines.  It had crabapples in it, and (if I’m remembering right) walnuts.  I don’t recall what we ate it on, but it was great.  We have a big jar of it somewhere (somewhere unreachable, unfortunately).

In researching for this post, I could not locate any pictures of crabapple conserve on the web.  One guy was supposedly selling some in Pittsburgh at a farmers’ market.  And there’s a recipe in a 1916 cookbook assembled by the Daughters of the American Revolution from Clinton, Iowa.  That’s it for crabapple conserve on the web.

I don’t want to read too much into one point in her life, but she was definitely a crabapple conserve sort of lady.  I remember when she used to wear shoes that buttoned up.  She and my grandfather had a heating stove in their house that had a window into the flame, and the window was made of mica.

And she was fascinated by true crime, or auto accidents, or the like.  She would save clippings and then present them to my dad.  I’m not sure whether this was intended to be a lesson to him, or was for illustrative purposes, or if she just believed that everybody would be interested in the latest gruesome death.

But she loved us.  Sometimes that love  was expressed in food, or in caring enough to try and scold us into whatever it was she thought we should do.

Her husband died in September 1976.   I went away to college in 1977, and never lived in New York after that.  I’d go back (rarely) to visit.  It wasn’t enough.

Goodbye, Grammy.

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