Always Keep A Surrogate Grandma On Hand for Inspiration…

Here I post a daily diary entry from my grandmother, who lived on Saint Mark’s Place, Manhattan, in 1937, and a blog entry from yours truly, who lives in Brattleboro, Vermont, 2010.

The most appetizing picture of haggis I could find (you’ll understand later…)

Macsween-Cooked-HaggisJanuary 3, 1937,Saint Mark’s Place, Manhattan, Maggie writes:

Up late and had breakfast and then over to the Griemes about one for cocktails.  Hank in his usher’s costume: morning coat and striped pants.  M. in new black felt hat with snap brim which I think devastatingly becoming.  Met Bill Shay and wife Rosalie.  He used to be the suburban editor for the Times, and now teaches school. We like them.  Ned and his mother and Dick Dunlop from the Herald Tribune were there, and we all played match game and for once did well, going out about third. Then played game of famous names, first person gives Roosevelt for instance, next has to think up name beginning with last letter of that name and so on…. Got stumped much too soon. Thalia very good.  All but me had quite a bit to drink and afternoon had loony air.  About four thirty came home bringing Ned and his mother, Julie having never seen apt. Ned rather tight and he and his mother put on very funny act about going home.  Arthur Mann arrived with his haggis*.  Arthur’s haggis was wedding present from his wife, and he had no other place to cook it; comes in large tin can,which is to be put into water and boiled for an hour and a half.  So we put it on. Arthur’s wife is a Catholic though her father is Presbyterian minister in Scotland and Arthur is a Jew.  She wanted to be married by a priest, so got permission, but they weren’t allowed to have flowers or music at the wedding.  Wilva came looking quite dramatic in black velvet and her freshly dyed reddish gold hair in long bob, said had offer of proposition from movie company. Breen arriving on train at 7:40 to see about it, so she went to meet him.   Arthur, M. and I sat down to haggis and mashed potatoes and salad at eight o’clock. Found the haggis surprisingly good, ate a great deal of it, then ate lovely Haan candy he brought as present, dismantled Christmas tree, gave him list of foreign restaurants we liked, and he finally left at 11:30.  Wilva then called up and wanted to bring Breen down for a drink, but I decided we’d had enough for one day so M. gently discouraged and to bed.

* Haggis is a dish containing sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and  lungs), minced with  onion, oatmeal, suet,  spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours. Isn’t that disgusting?????????

AND I write:

Today I went to have tea with Margot Torrey, my surrogate grandma, who I wish could have known Maggie back in the day.  Margot’s in her 80s, wears abilone dolphin earrings, says purple is her favorite color, calls herself Pacha Mama, can speak a blue streak in French, and lives in a little white house, where she practices gestalt therapy, writes memoir, and makes art.  Her house is filled with treasures from abroad and Moroccan rugs. In the summer you can swim naked in her pool and look over the hills of Vermont like you’re the queen. She’s so popular in Putney, she’s almost the mayor. She’s huggable and adorable and laughs a lot and feeds you gingerbread on very good china.  Being with her makes you feel like a good person.  In the summers a pile of us writers go up to her house on Lake Sunapee, pull all the horsehair mattresses out of closets, plunk ourselves down on her sleeping porches, make acres of good food and lie around writing and reading all day. I saw the Northern Lights there once and smoked a cigar, which I didn’t like. Margot and I are thinking of taking a trip to Panama together, where once I made a very wonderful home so close to the equator I almost got roasted. I watched Margot’s eyes light up when she talked about going to the islands to see the San Blas Indians, and on the way home I prayed to God that I would still be as full of fire in fifty years as Margot is.  And I thought how Margot and Maggie probably would have partied together, if they had known each other in the old days when my grandmother was eating haggis, which, when I read about it, made me completely lose my appetite.

One of my favorite woodprints by Margot Torrey, my surrogate grandma:

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3 Responses to “Always Keep A Surrogate Grandma On Hand for Inspiration…”

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