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  • Joanna Madloch

Heather Lockhart Cole



I was adopted, and my mother never married, so grandmother Bernice Huyler (Lockhart) is my only grandmother. She was the most loving grandmother one could ask for. Here she is portrayed in her wedding picture.


My mother and I lived together with my grandparents in their large family house in Bellville, New Jersey. I hung out with my grandmother a lot, especially in the kitchen, as she cooked for the entire family. I love cooking, and this is entirely because of her. My mother never learned how to cook, and I think we survived only because I really enjoyed it and, more importantly, know how to do. However, no matter how much I try, I cannot recreate some of my grandmother’s dishes. My chicken soup, no matter how good it is, is still missing something for me…


I wish, I had paid more attention to her. I wish, I wrote down her recipes. Her memory smells like good food to me: breaded veal, Thanksgiving stuffing, and cake batter. She was an excellent cook, and even if I also actively hated some of her dishes, such as jello salad, I would be ecstatic to eat it now.


Grandmother Bernice was a creative person. She loved music and had amazing soprano voice, so good that she was even on the radio. I remember listening to Christmas music with her. Bing Crosby and Hawaii-style songs were her favorites. She also liked to draw and was a pretty accomplished artist. When she grew older, she loved watching soap operas and I often sat with her, even if I could not care less for the series, but to be in her company.


Grandma Berenice was always very proud of me and it’s for her that I want to complete my PhD. Her son was a doctor and he was killed in an attempted car hijacking. I was only ten years old when it happened, but I remember how desolated she was with her loss. This is when I decided to be strong for her. When she died, I stayed strong for my mother. I did not cry in front of her.


My grandparents were happy together and they taught me both how to receive and give love. I wanted them to be always with me and this is why I have a tattoo dedicated to each member of my family. There is a lilac for my grandfather, rose of Sharon for grandmother, and a cherry blossom for my mother. I made the tattoo while I lived in Australia with my wife. This way all these people are always with me. They are a part of me.

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