My grandma Hazel smelled like Cashmere Bouquet Soap. I know, because her hugs embraced my six-year-old self in a full-body envelope. Walking into her house on Factory Street in Marion Center, I always smelled cookies. I always hoped she had been making Sour Milk Jumbles, my favorite. The entryway greeted me with a loping wooden stairway to my right and pocket doors to my left. Beyond the pocket doors sat the 1892 upright piano. Grandma could play like an angel. I imagine her playing it still. She passed in the winter of 1977.
I am writing a long essay about Hazel (Shorts) Work: her influence as a grandmother; her life as a mother of 7; her work as a social worker in post-depression rural Pennsylvania; and as a resilient wife of an alcoholic. I’m hoping to publish it, so unfortunately I can’t share it here, because even blogs can be considered “published.” So I hope you’ve enjoyed these snippets, and the photo below.
In one of the last photos of my grandma, which I discovered yesterday in looking for photos of my dad, I was surprised to find myself in my first photo-bombing episode. There I am, peeking through the arms of uncles. I was disappointed at first, that I *ruined* this photo of Hazel and a few of her children, then I realized this might be the only photo I have of me with my grandma Hazel.
My friend Lauren has a new blog, called the Pittsburgh Cookie Table. Recently she featured my grandma’s No-Bake Cookies recipe. I hope you’ll take a moment to visit her blog and if you have 15 minutes, make them for yourself, enjoying the legacy of a warm and resilient woman.