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Grandmother Cecilia Beato This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My grandma Beato, whom I call Grandma B., is one of the neatest people I know. She always seems to wear the same shoes that are the color of a football and covered with scuff marks. The golden buckles remind me of a leprechaun’s shoes. She always wears tan stockings, the kind robbers use to distort their faces. She wears either a blue or brown skirt down to her ankles, or blue or black pants. She wears jeans about as often as the Vikings win the Superbowl. Her many shirts and sweaters have a common theme - pink, thankfully not bright, but the color of bubble gum.

She has a perfect grandmother face, with a few wrinkles and slightly rosy cheeks. One of her eyes seems a bit glassy, because it is fake. My uncle constantly jokes with her, asking if she ever plays marbles with her eye. She takes it with good humor, which is something that is special about her. Grandma’s hair reminds me of drifting snow, since it is white and curly. This sweet old lady has made a big difference in how I live.

Every time I talk to Grandma, she ends the conversation with “I love you,” “I’ll be praying for you” or “God bless.” Grandma also writes me weekly notes, telling me she loves me and is thinking about me. It is cool to know she is takes the time to write and spend 37 cents each week just to let me know she loves me.

Grandma took care of me when I was little. My mom taught at Tuesday School, where kids would go to a church for something like youth group. Each Tuesday, my grandma would have me over at her house. She and Grandpa B. played with me for hours; whether coloring, playing with trains or watching TV, they made sure I had fun. But then something terrible happened - Grandpa died.

It was very sudden and I figured Grandma would need time to recover from the tragedy, so I did not think I would see her for a while, but I was wrong. The following week, Mom dropped me off as usual, even though I said, “Mom, I don’t want to bother her.” Mom replied, “She wants you to be here.”

I had a great time that afternoon. She made me macaroni and cheese, and took me to the park. She let me throw rocks into the river, which I enjoyed because of the splashing noise. After that, we picked up pine cones, and I got sap all over my hands. My grandma and I took the cones home, where we stored them in a Quaker Oats container that still had the smell of musty oatmeal.

I remember Grandma’s house was an ugly yellow, the color of a #2 pencil. It always had the faint smell of oatmeal and baking cookies. Grandma always seemed to be baking something, usually for me.

A few years ago, Grandma had surgery to remove a cataract. A complication, possibly because of a childhood heat stroke or spinal meningitis, resulted in Grandma losing her right eye. After that, she had to wear an eye patch. The first time I saw her, she reminded me of a pirate. I felt terrible that she had lost her vision since I knew it would affect the way she lived, but Grandma stayed positive. When I asked how she did that, she replied, “I know God is with me and will take care of me. He is watching out for me, and uses everything for a purpose.”

“But why did you have to lose your eye for that cause?” I asked.

“I don’t know, but God’s plan will prevail.”

I think I struggled more with understanding why she lost her eye than she did. She would not be negative, even when the going got tough. She lost her husband, and then her eye, but never once did I hear her complain. She kept up her normal life, reading and helping others. She went on trips with friends and made sure that her loss did not hold her back.

My grandma may not be the smartest person on the earth (though she is close), the best looking or the richest, but she has had a huge impact on my life. She took care of me, always making sure I had fun. When she lost her husband and some of her sight, she stayed strong. Times were tough, but she would not break. I hope one day I will be like her - a strong-willed person eager to help others, even if it is not the easiest thing to do.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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