I made french bread pizza today when I got home from work. It seems like a weird thing to mention, however, it always reminds me of my favourite grandmother.
I had 3 grandmothers at one time. One, my father wasn’t talking to because she chose the man she loved over my dad, and he couldn’t deal with that. Unless she made an attempt to see us, we didn’t see her. My dad was an odd man who wouldn’t visit anyone without an invitation. She never invited, so we never visited. It wasn’t until after my dad passed away that we started visiting her. Eventually she passed away from severe dementia.
My mother’s mother was a horrible woman who, after she inquired about my sexual orientation because I didn’t have a boyfriend at 14 years old, never saw me again. Every holiday was awful, all the men basically avoiding her and determining who was on her shit list this holiday and why. No one liked her and when she passed away, no one was really sad about it.
My father’s stepmother though, was my favourite. During the summer, she would let me stay for a week or two and we would go bowling, play mahjong, and it was just a nice time to not be at home. I loved the time spent there, her attention and the break away from some of the chaos at home.
The reason French bread pizza makes me think of her is because, when I was about 8 or 9, my grandmother taught me how to make them. She also taught me how to poach eggs, but…Her reasoning was because she felt that I should have been cooking already at that age and the fact I wasn’t needed to be rectified.
My grandmother grew up with 7 sisters and an older brother. Her sisters always made living a competition, however, they were all pretty close in age, so it made sense. Her brother, Hank, was the oldest of them and herded them like cats. They all grew up on a farm in Montevideo, Minnisota. I have actually been to that farm.
When my grandmother became an adult she married a man who was in the army. He turned out to be an abusive alcoholic who would beat her when drunk. She left him, because she was a tough as nails woman, and struck it out on her own. She met my grandfather and they eventually got married. Every few years on Christmas Eve, her ex husband would call her, still drunk. She’d just hang up the phone and go on as if he never existed and the call didn’t happen. She didn’t make excuses for him. She just said she wished he’d move on.
My grandmother became a role model for me. When she passed away, that was a tough day for me. She was the last of my relatives that I had had any connection to, aside from my mom’s youngest sister who I hadn’t seen or spoken to due to my mom’s mother. I have since gotten back in touch with that aunt and love her very dearly.
I remember every summer when I’d come home from my grandmother’s, my mom would get upset, saying she had to “reprogram” me. Of course, now, I realize it wasn’t because my grandmother was wrong about anything, but because my mom’s narcissistic nature wouldn’t allow anything bad to be said about her. My “reprogramming” was basically her making sure that I didn’t think any less of her once I got back, and not that maybe, my grandmother had made some very valid comments about the way I was raised.
My family was dysfunctional. It is still dysfunctional. I stopped fighting that fact ages ago and just work on myself, the only thing I can work on. My daughter is often perplexed by my lack of wanting to be a cohesive family, but aside from the fact that the adults in the family aren’t really present and certainly aren’t in your life thinking of your best interests, with the exception of a small few, I don’t know that I could honestly say what a “normal family” is. I didn’t grow up with one and have no idea how they function.
So French bread pizza makes me think of family, the grandmother I loved, and how messed up my family was and is still in some branches of the tree. It’s amazing how food affects you!