All in Grandmother

My maternal grandmother had Parkinson's Disease from the time I was first conscious of her, when she moved to live near us in Wichita after my grandfather died. She was in her 50s, which we now understand is not old! But she seemed ancient with the shaking, the shuffling, the trouble finding words.

Oh my gosh, I loved my grandmother Hazel so much. She was a tiny woman, barely 5 feet, and lived in a tiny, perfect house one block into Bethesda from D.C. She wrote children's books, 18 or 19 of them, and earned royalties her entire adult life, or at least as long as I knew her.

She was fierce when it came to her backyard garden and how the rose bushes and tomato plants and radishes stacked up against those of the neighbors, whose own rows of summer vegetables could be seen just inches beyond the chain link fences that bordered her yard in the old neighborhood.