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  • She is, we all say with a sigh and a what-can-you-do, getting old.
    When she was 5 and her father died, my grandmother- my Savta- stopped going to kindergarten. "How could I, sweetheart? There was no one to cross the big street with me."
    When she was 7, her brother died. "I was too little!"
    When she was 19, she met my grandfather.
    She has 4 kids.
    She had 12 grandchildren.
    She has 11 grandchildren.
    She pronounces my grandfather's name different than everyone else does and insists his mother named him wrong.
    She has him clip their names and address out of every piece of mail they get and then shred it (and he does).
    She loves more than anything to help her grandchildren.
    She loves more than anything to tell in perfect detail stories of things that happened more than a half century ago.
    She has, for the past 4 years, been saying one thing more than anything else: "I don't remember, dear." "My memory's going, sweetheart." "Sweetheart, ask your grandfather, I just don't remember anymore."
    "Is this your grandpa's, dear?" she will ask of a book lying around our house. "Your grandfather has the same one and I don't know if he brought it." No, we will tell her- no, it's ours. Do you want to read it?
    "Sweetheart," she will say a few days, or hours, or minutes later, "is this our book?" No, we tell her again, patiently- no, that's our copy. I think you have the same one at home? "Oh, yes, probably. I'll ask your grandfather."
    Later, we will be sitting around the table. "Sweetheart, is this our book?" she will ask us.
    And so it goes.
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