Dia de los Muertos

A year ago, Mom brought over a box of my old stuff. Like I need more stuff in a house that looks like Toys R Us stocked for Christmas! But inside were some outfits that my Grandma Nana had made for me. They’re stained, terribly out of fashion and smell like moth balls and I have no where to store them. But I couldn’t throw them out.

So this morning when I read Kathy’s post about Dia de los Muertos, she really got me. I’ve been thinking about my Grandma Nana a lot lately.

Eduvijen Holguin Melendez was a very quiet, simple woman. She wasn’t one for calling attention to herself. During Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter she mostly spent her time in the kitchen. She’d be the last to sit down for the meal, still wearing her apron and jumping up to get what anyone needed.

She was also a very talented seamstress, making extra money by sewing wedding and quinceanera gowns. My Grandma Margie remembers how she’d buy a bolt of cloth and then work through the night making matching dresses for her three girls. I can imagine Grandma Nana’s sewing machine whirring with the steady pressure of her foot on the wrought iron pedal. Outside the street would be dark, except for the light of her room glowing againt the mammoth Eucalyptus trees that lined her yard.

If you’ve read Hot Tamara and remember Senora Allende’s shrine with the glow-in-the-heart Jesus statue, that was inspired by the santos Grandma Nana had in her sala behind the TV. When we’d spend the night in the pull-out bed, Grandma would sleep on the lumpy couch so we wouldn’t be lonely. But I’d stare at Jesus’ heart, wondering if it would start beating like the animatronics in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.

Even though my Grandma Nana died when I was 11 years old, I still miss her chicken soup and I can still feel the tortilla masa between my fingers. I wish she could’ve lived to see the Little Dude in action because she would’ve just adored his big personality. Actually, I know she does love him because I can feel her when she’s decided to pay a visit. I bet she still covers her mouth when she laughs at his antics, like she used at mine.

Today, I’m starting a new book and I have her picture on my desk. There’s a little sadness in my heart as I write this but there’s also a lot more love and gratitude to have had a Grandma Nana like her and to still have her in spirit.

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5 thoughts on “Dia de los Muertos

  1. your post got me choked up, it is so sweet, i’m sure your nana is so proud of you. what a special day to start a new book!! cheers to your nana and you!!

  2. what a beautiful post! My father-in-law (Mexican) celebrates day of the dead, and I often think of my husband’s grandmas around this time of year. I have pestered (and finally gotten) teacups and pictures and so on from that side of the family for around my house so the kids “feel” their heritage.Beautiful tribute.E

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