My Nona, Lola Trimmer, had a special gift. She wasn’t the grandmother you’d find in an apron baking up cookies for her grandchildren. Nope, that wasn’t her. She was so much more.
Each of us grandchildren and great-grandchildren spent time at Nonas and Papas house when we were growing up. One of our first lessons was how to make the bed properly. That one didn’t really stick well with me though. Nonas always said that making your bed first thing in the morning started your day out on the right foot.
She also taught us about money. For dusting the coffee table, we’d earn $1. That dollar wasn’t meant to be spent frivolously, but rather saved up to buy something of value. She’d walk us older grandchildren down to the corner bank and opened up savings accounts in our names. Each week, on our payday, we would take that dollar and deposit it. She always said, why spend a $1 on a shirt that will only last one season? Rather spend $10 on a high-quality shirt that will last a lifetime. Macy’s was her favorite store for that reason. 🙂
My brother Ricky, always told my Nona that he’d buy her clothes like Erica Kane. As Ricky travelled around the world he always brought Nona home clothes, just like Erica Kane. He fulfilled that promise to her over and over again. That was their own private joke.
Every granddaughter and great-granddaughter can remember the day Nona taught them how to apply their lipstick. Start with the upper lip and go down the left side, then the right. The bottom is done in one fell swoop. Now rub your lips gently together with a muah kiss at the end.
Nona also was not a fan of gray roots. Honestly, I don’t think I ever saw her without her beautiful black hair colored. Her nails were always painted, usually red, her favorite color.
Nona told us that when you look good on the outside, it helps you to feel better on the inside. It was a first step in feeling good about yourself. So remember: Never walk out of your house without your lipstick on, your hair looking fabulous, your nails done, and dressed to the nines.
Nonas looked like Elizabeth Taylor and loved everything about Liz. Each October was tamale making season. One year she had to use this new spice called Gebhardts chili powder in the tamales because Liz Taylor told her so! Also – don’t forget to check the water in the tamales!
As for relationships, Nonas had some steadfast rules too. Never go to bed angry. You will know a man loves you when he fills up your gas tank for you. A lady should never open up her own beer as she may break a nail. If a man gives you an unopened beer, dump his ass as he is not right for you. Whenever one of us kids would go by the beer fridge, we’d grab her favorite beer, open it, take out the empty from the koozie and be rewarded by red lipstick marks on our cheeks. Best payment ever.
Once when I was walking through the fire, she said to me – One day in an abusive relationship is one day too many. It’s better to walk alone than to be with someone who doesn’t value or respect you.
I swear, we all should have bought stock in Viva paper towels years ago! Those were her favorite! Never go to bed without drying out the inside of the sink. She liked Viva as they are the best of the best, just like her.
And guys remember – no hats on the table!
When life gets hard, or you’re driving, just put the peddle to the metal, and GO!
My Nona loved her plants and flowers like they were her babies. For a new plant, cut the stem above a set of new leaves and put it in water to root out. Then gently plant it into a little soil, water it well and give it love. The love was the most important step.
At the end of the day, always take off your makeup, apply your moisturizer, and count your blessings. Tell your family that you love them and don’t hold grudges. Be grateful for those in your life and love them with your whole heart.
The one thing that our Nona did very well was to make each and every one of her grandchildren feel special and that they were her favorite. She went to school functions, ball games, dance recitals, business openings, and rock concerts. Most importantly, she saw deep into each one of us. She saw our individuality, the light we brought to this world, the art we created in every medium imaginable like dance, music, photography, videography, writing, and art creation. She saw each of us and loved each one of us for who we were as people.
Nona… We will miss you the rest of our lives.