A Midwest summer afternoon, the weather report promises a day hotter than yesterday and a good dose of humidity; I happily trade the breezes of southern California beaches for any time spent with my mom’s family, my family in Wisconsin.
The garage wide open, decorated with photographs, and crepe paper streamers, my sister Susy and I mill about the tables and chairs, chatting and waiting for guests to arrive. Before long, this quiet space will be filled with family and friends gathered to celebrate my maternal grandmother’s one hundredth birthday. I imagine more than fifty people will come today, seven of her eight children, sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and their spouses, great-grandchildren, and a few old friends, all here to honor Henrietta Jensen, also known as Opie.
The last time I saw my grandma was during a visit with my sisters nearly two years ago. Before seeing her, our aunts…
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