by Bubby/Auntie Bessie

No two grandmothers are ever alike, at least mine weren't.   The one we called "Big Bobba"* was very tall and big all over, especially her big lap.   She was very huggable and she kissed and hugged us all the time.   We** called the other grandmother "Little Bobba".   She was very short and roly-poly.   She was busy doing something all the time, and barely smiled when we appeared.

Big Bobba thought we were wonderful and told us so.   We could do no wrong in her eyes.   She left the disciplining to our parents, but in her own subtle way she did get some ideas of right and wrong across to us.

Little Bobba, on the other hand, never failed to tell us where our duty lay and criticized our way of dressing, our lack of responsibility to our parents, and our likes and dislikes of food.   "You must like all foods!" she would say.

Big Bobba was very easy on everyone, including herself.   She loved to go to the movies.   The "Rex" movie house was on St. Denis Street near her home and she went often.   She always took refreshments with her and sometimes would sit through two showings.

Her priorities were quite different from Little Bobba's, who criticized her for indulging herself.   Little Bobba always did her duty.   Household and chores came first.   She was very efficient and had no patience with slow performance.

Big Bobba was our favourite.   We still talk about her and remember her with love.   Yet we realize how Little Bobba managed to do so much work and still help any neighbour in trouble, be it death in the family or loss by fire.

She organized the other neighbours.   She could deliver a baby if need be.   She knew a lot of home remedies.   When we were sick she felt our foreheads for a fever.   She gave us a dose of castor oil and hot lemonade.   She was very much concerned and as she bustled about we felt we were in good hands and would get better soon.

Editor's Notes:
* "Bobba" or "Bubby" is Yiddish for Grandmother; Grandfather is "Zaida" or "Zaydy".

** "We" would be Bessie and her two younger brothers and two younger sisters. All five were born within a space of eight years.

Painting by Bessie Sager
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