These are my grandmother’s glasses. She died 35 years ago come May, but I still have them. It’s not easy to explain why you own the glasses of someone you never met. The only answer I can give is that I don’t really know but I love my grandmother. Then you get into the philosophical conundrum of loving someone deeply when you’ve never met or spoken to them.
There are the glasses the way they were meant to be used. On a face. On a face that I look at with love and fondness. I keep them precisely because they touched that face, were held in those hands and wiped on those hems. They are an image of a lovely imperfect woman captured better than by any camera.
All of my life I have been called “Little Hazel.” I am short and squat like her, stubborn like her, hate doctors just like she did. I even wear glasses like her, though without the horned rims. (I tried hers on. They don’t fit my face.) I wanted anything else but to be like her when I was younger. I was set on being my own person, which I am. But I find it an honor to be called “Little Hazel.”
I wish I had known her. I hope she would have been proud at the way I turned out. I always wanted the kindly grandmother. I spent more time than I care to admit being angry with her for not going to the doctor until her uterine cancer was so far gone. But I can’t hate her for being like me.