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good friday.

April 22, 2011

me and gram at her 55th high school reunion - 2007

It’s Good Friday here and Wookie and I are home chilling out with the kitties, listening to records.  I’ve thought many times about writing blog entries but just haven’t had time or energy.  It’s nice to have a three-day weekend to really enjoy some down time.  It doesn’t feel much like Easter, it’s kind of cold and though the trees have started to bloom its a gloomy day in New Jersey.

Last week I thought of my Grandma and how much she loved this season.  From as long as I could remember she used to make the whole family Easter Baskets with homemade – molded chocolates.  My first memory of this was back when she lived in the old house, the one my father and his brothers grew up in, in Pequannock, NJ.  The house is no longer there, it was torn down years ago and the place where is used to stand is now an extension of a bank parking lot across from the CVS.

I remember this first time of being in her kitchen with my mother.  We made some chocolates, but what most intrigued me was how she made her own chocolate covered cherries and peanut butter cups.  She worked diligently, most-likely with a cigarette in hand telling us stories about her job at the police station.  My mom used to help her every year – it was sort of a tradition.

When my sister and I were old enough, we would go a few weekends before Easter to help her out.  It was an all weekend event.   My parents would drop us off on Saturday morning and Grandma would have the piles of molds out and bags of all sorts of chocolate pellets to be melted down and set into the molds.  A double broiler would be on the kitchen table and we would get to work.   We’d work until the evening and usually order something from the pizza place or even run out to Micky D’s for dinner followed by a movie and sleep over on her pull-out couch that had this amazing velour cheetah blanket that would shed its fur all over.

When we made the candy, the air was thick with the smell of cigarettes and melted chocolate.  After about three hours, you’d feel sick to your stomach from a combination of the smell and the amount of chocolate that you licked off your fingers – but it was worth it.  The table would be full of bowls of half melted chocolate – dark, milk, white, pastel pink and green and yellow and about every other Easter-y color you could think of.  She must have spent a fortune on it.  We would use paint brushes to get things just right.

She had a list with everyone in the family’s name and what type of chocolate they preferred.    Over the years she had acquired quite a collection of interesting molds.  Each person on the list got a special type of molded chocolate according to their interests. For instance, my aunt Penny would get chocolate shaped hair dryers and curlers since she was a hair dresser – my uncles and father would get chocolate shaped tools and my sister and I got over the years ballet chocolate and even softball chocolates.  I bet if she still did it today, I would get yoga chocolates!!  Oh and she also made obscene chocolates, too.  She was always crazy like that – she made these after my sister and I went to bed or left – chocolate penis’ and boobs!!  I think most of the molds were thrown out years before she passed away, after she got too sick to actually all the chocolate.  But we really relished that time.  It was a time of just hanging out with grandma and creating and being beyond an sugar high you could ever imagine.

The result was on Easter she would show up with everything packaged in pretty glassine bags with ribbons inside a bag that had fake Easter grass and jelly beans.  Each bag must have weighed five pounds each and we’d have the candy for ever!  For my sister and I there was always a special treat that she would get pre-made from the chocolate supply store.  The most memorable was in my teenage years –  a chocolate telephone!

It’s a little too late do to it this year, but maybe next year I can get some molds and start the tradition again.  I love this memory.  Hopefully my sis and I can pass this on to our kiddies one day.  Miss you Gram.  xoxox

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