12/26/2013 12:46 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Last Day at Grandma's: New York, Nov. 23, 1997


Grandma and Grandpa moved in here before they were Grandma and Grandpa, when they were still Mom and Dad. They were in their 40s. Grandpa died in 1979 and Aunt Ruth moved in to be with Grandma. Aunt Ruth passed on recently and Grandma, now 90, has been here alone. Janet, Grandma's youngest daughter, has just moved Grandma to her place uptown. Most everything's been moved out, given to children, grandchildren and cousins. The old grandfather clock, the dining room set, the furniture, the books, clothes, jewelry, records... things. A solitary rubber glove hangs from the kitchen shelf. A book of matches from my early childhood sits on the worn Formica counter. The smell of old soap lingers in the empty linen closet. In the silence, there is a symphony of years and lives. In the emptiness, there is fullness and eternity. This is the place where I first crawled in warm pools of light and care. It is my alpha and my omega, my sanctuary, my womb, my fortress. On this gray autumn afternoon, nothing can hurt me here. Not a million terrorists, atom bombs or diseases. Not even the girl I love leaving me. Once, I lived in this place. Now, forever, it lives in me.