The Beaded Bag from Baltimore
My Grandmother's Beaded Bag
Inez was entertaining as a storyteller. Two of my favorites were "The Pears" and "The Tragedy of the Titanic," which I alternately requested each day. She never refused and honed her stories for maximum dramatic effect. I experienced the crescendo of hysterical expectation when the children, Inez and her siblings, would beg their father for a bite of the forbidden pears ripening in a trunk in the hallway of their home. Those pears daily grew more irresistable as they blew forth sweet fruity breath seducing everyone into olfactory madness. "Please, Poppa, please may we try the pears?" was the repeated stanza in her heightening, frenetic childhood autobiography. I delighted in it every time and squealed with laughter when they finally fell upon those pears.
"The Titanic" was a sad tale of all the many good people who perished on the doomed ship. It was our little quiet ceremony of remembrance. It gave us distance from tragedy and gratitude for that, but respect for its ravaging effect on living humans by the sheer numbers.
The Picture on Inez's Wall Used to Tell the Story
She didn't wear makeup, wearing her long, graying hair back in a tuck, but fragrant floral-smelling powder always dressed her cheeks when she went out. I don't think I will ever quite find that sweet scent anywhere again. This is just a big thank-you to her for taking time to amuse a child.