Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nana's Noodles

I decided to write down some memories from my childhood before I forget them.  I want a record of the events that happened during my life, so that my children will be able to piece together a history of their old man and his somewhat eclectic past.

This story is about my grandmother on my father's side.

Nana made noodles.  Egg noodles, to be precise.  She would announce, seemingly to the entire world, that she would be making noodles this week.  Then she would be incommunicado until the project was completed.

I remember walking into her house one time in the midst of "noodle week."  Her dining room table, kitchen table, coffee table, kitchen counters, and several folding game tables were covered with linen towels, top with noodles that were dusted with flour, in various stages of the drying process.  Nana was busy in the kitchen, placing noodles in paper lunch bags, then folding the top of the bags and stapling them closed.  On each bag she used a black crayon to write the person's name and the number of bags that person was to receive.

She sold each bag of noodles for half a dollar.  Of course, our noodles were free, as were those for her close friends.  She made a fabulous egg noodle - not too thick, not too thin - and we knew, without a doubt, that Mom would be making her signature beef noodle soup with Nana's homemade noodles.

I never really thought about the fact that Nana would sell her noodles by the bagful.  As a kid, I figured that she just loved to make noodles.  It wasn't until later that I realized that she was selling them to earn extra cash for things like, oh, Christmas presents, birthday presents, a new stove? 

You see, the endowment my grandfather left her was enough to keep her well into her retirement years.  But Nana lived far longer than that, longer than the money in her annuities.  She was resourceful and strong, and knew how to make ends meet, even into her 80's.  She never wanted to depend on anyone for her financial upkeep, and never wanted to be indebted to anyone.  She was a cool old lady.

They were great noodles.


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