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Quarantining with my Holocaust survivor grandmother

21 0 6
23.10.2020

A woman I quarantined with inadvertently shamed me on a regular basis. As strange March rolled into tragic April which rolled into tragic and strange May, she found ways of keeping herself occupied that were both maddeningly self-enriching and deeply sophisticated.

Though we are related, our approach to quarantine was different. As she watched the French film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and the French series “The Bureau,” both sans subtitles, there was no limit to how depraved a show on Bravo might be — it didn’t matter, I’d gleefully watch it. She played bridge on her iPad each afternoon — lessons and tournaments in which she competed for cash; I debased my education by learning about the ins and outs of the TikTok “Hype House.”

Where my social Zooms petered out as the spring festered, she remained invited everywhere: into people’s living rooms for birthdays, bat mitzvahs, even the occasional bris. As ambulances ravaged our home city, New York, and death tolls mounted, we both turned to food. I’d botch Alison Roman recipes by day and by night, smother cream cheese frosting onto cinnamon buns and then lick it off the spoon. She’d slow cook ratatouille and regularly remind me that she drinks at least nine glasses of water by 6 p.m. Infuriatingly, she did online yoga, kept up her skincare routine, and wore swaths of flattering lipstick.

Even seeing no one, her style could be described as uptown-doyenne-takes-a-day-trip-to-Brooklyn-galleries. She wore sweatpants, yes, but they were somehow chic paired with sumptuous cream cashmeres, well-ironed........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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