We spoke (yup, I managed it), sang, listened (to my littlest cousin, who's not so little anymore, play Fuer Elise), prayed, and cried.
Then we had lunch.
Then we hit her apartment.
What started as H and I swinging by to see if there was anything we wanted to keep as memories ended up as the whole family laughing, sharing, trading, and honoring my grandparents. The hottest negotiated items? Her hats.
Kept lovingly in John Wanamaker* hat boxes, I never saw a single one of them on Mom-Mom's head. By the time I remember her, she'd emancipated herself from hats and gloves and donned slacks. My cousins and I tried them all on with cries of, "Oh, that's perfect on you, you have to take that one." We may never wear the pillboxes, but we have them (though I'm determined to find an occasion to don the cream wool topper now sitting on H's dresser).
We all attempted to slip on the delicate white kid leather opera gloves with sweet little pearl buttons at the wrist. They don't fit anyone's contemporary hands, but I have them safe and sound, and will find out how to preserve them best. Most of the rest of the gloves ended up in my care (I'm the romantic, impractical one of the bunch). Some I'll wear, and some I'll keep for The Bean.
Her purses lay neatly on the bed, just begging for each of us to take one home. I ended up with 2 amazing frame bags and 2 clutches. I have her opera glasses, which she let me use when she took me to the symphony. Each of us has handkerchiefs, a scarf here and there, and most of us took some linens, some handmade by her Irish American mother (holding Mom-Mom in the picture, at right).
My sister is storing what we think was her wedding night negligée. My aunt has her wedding dress, to be kept and shared around as we each want to hold onto it for a while.
We each have little memories of this and that - very few of them from the articles themselves - but we all now have a teensy piece of her we can wear for a special event, or put on a bureau or nightstand, displaying it with pride and sweetness.
I'm fortunate I can now wear something of hers every day to honor her and remember her.
*Strangely enough, my other grandmother worked at the flagship Wanamaker's. It's a lovely little connection between two of the most important women in my life.