When I was twelve, my grandmother suffered a stroke. We were so worried, but Mom assured us that Grandma would be alright. Before my grandparents came to Philadelphia for their first visit after the stroke, we walked to Wadsworth Avenue. My sisters and I wanted to use our savings to buy her a present. We opened our piggy banks and combined our nickels, pennies, dimes, and quarters. Even a few silver dollars!
Sandy thought we should buy her socks at Artie’s where we always bought our underwear. Diane said we should go to Cakemasters Bakery for sweet treats. We finally decided that the Cameo Shop might be the perfect place to find the perfect gift. Even then, I loved black and white clothing and immediately found a soft, beautiful scarf – white background and large black flowers with broad leaves. Mom had exchanged all our savings into dollar bills. She handed the money to us, and we paid the clerk. The smiles on our faces couldn’t have been bigger!
When Grandma arrived with our grandfather, she seemed quiet and different. Mom had cautioned us to give her some time to be more like herself. We handed her the gift wrapped in silver paper with silky, white ribbon. She slowly opened it and brought out the scarf. We waited for words, but we got something better. She lifted the scarf out of the box and draped it around her neck. Then she opened her arms wide, and we fell into them. As she kissed the tops of our heads, we felt our grandma was back. I think I may have brushed away some tears.
After dinner, they headed back to Coopersburg. We stood at the curbside to wave and blow kisses. Grandma waved from the car and GaGa (our name for our grandfather) tooted the horn. Grandma had invited us for Sunday dinner the next week. Mom thought it was too soon, but Grandma insisted it was what she wanted. Things were returning to normal. We were relieved. We gave Grandma a scarf, but our gift was Grandma.