I suppose it’s Old Photo Day here at jeffpearlman.com.
The two people here are my late grandparents, Mollie and Nat Pearlman. They were Brooklyn natives who, like most New York Jews, felt compelled to flock to Ft. Lauderdale in their 60s and hone in on the myriad early-bird dinners.
That’s one of the things I remember most about Grandma and Grandpaâ€”the Ft. Lauderdale early-birds. We’d show up at the restaurant around 4 … 4:30, latest. For, like $7.50, we’d all get a starter salad, steak or chicken or fish (my grandpa only ate fish), a side vegetable and then pudding, ice cream or Jell-O for desert. I don’t think at age 10, I knew anything to be odd about the early-bird, though come 8 o’clock I’d be starving and gnawing at any crumb to be found.
My grandparents were good people. Quirky. Though she’s been dead for five or six years, I can still hear Grandma calling out, “Nat!!! Nat!!!” when she was irked by Grandpa. And though he’s been gone for about 15 years, I close my eyes and hear Grandpa slurping the milk out of his cereal bowl. Also, in his final years he’d always end our phone conversations by saying, “Now don’t forget to wear your rubbers.” I never found the joke particularly funny, but Grandpa did. That was good enough for me.
Toward the end of her life, my grandmother lived in an assisted living facility. It was a nice place, but sad. Her life seemed to revolve around meals and mindless acitivities and the occasinal trip to the mall. Whenever I’d go to Southern Florida for spring training or a Marlins story, I’d surprise her with a knock on the door. She’d see my face and her jaw would dropâ€”a priceless moment for both of us. The day she died, I cried uncontrollably.
Again, I’m babbling. No one here has any reason to care about Mollie and Nat. But, for some reason, it feels good seeing their photo on my blog.
Keeps them alive.