Thursday, January 21, 2010

'Ducky J' and the Halves

When I was younger, my Nana always used to allow us one half of whatever food or drink we asked for. If I said I wanted a glass of juice, she would fill it halfway and tell me if I finished it and wanted more, well then of course I could have more. At the time (I must've been seven or eight during my first memory of this happening), I thought this rule was ridiculous. Coming from a family in which my paternal grandmother and all my great aunts were 100% Italian, they did what was natural and regularly fed my little belly until I almost burst. That's what grandmothers and great aunts usually do, right? Why on earth was my Italian grandmother denying me my heavenly juice cup?!

Another curious thing that always mystified me about my Nana was her license plate on her brilliant silver car: DUCKYJ. What? As a little girl, I thought it was cute! Also that perhaps my Nana was a little exotic because she was the only person I knew (in the small scope of my world) that had a vanity plate.

A few years ago, these two childhood mysteries were solved for me! At a family gathering I overheard my father say 'I even saw your grandmother split a peanut in half once!' Huh? The whole situation was explained to me at that point. 'Ducky' was my grandmother! She had been somewhat chubby in high school and she had gotten the nickname 'Ducky'. Eventually she had come up with her own form of a diet in which she only took one half of everything she wanted to eat or drink, and then once finished she reevaluated her need for more. This was the principle that, in essence, she was trying to pass on to me, my sister and my cousins when we were younger. She therefore lost weight and became the trim, vibrantly stunning woman that will forever be in my memory.

And, of course, I'm not mad about the juice cup anymore.

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