STORY #1 — When Chloe was a very little girl, maybe 3 years-old, she and I regularly went to visit my grandparents, bringing dinner once a week. On one occasion, Chloe expressed fascination with my grandmother’s bright red fingernail polish. This was something that my grandmother took great pride in. Despite painful arthritis, she painstakingly worked to keep her hands looking good and painting her nails bright red was a trademark.
On this night my grandmother offered to paint Chloe’s nails. Chloe agreed and than sat quietly and patiently as her great-grandmother painted her nails bright red. When the job was finished and my grandmother had gone to put the nail polishing tools away, Chloe burst into tears. I was able to discern that she thought each of her fingers was bleeding.
STORY #2 — Visiting my grandparents involved a number of rituals, including one involving malted milk balls. This was a favorite candy of my grandmother, and the great-grandchildren and I enjoyed dipping into her private stash. She kept them in a special “Santa Claus” candy tin. To this day, this tin is kept filled with malted milk balls by my parents, available to the grandchildren when they come visit.
CONCLUSION — With Chloe in town this weekend, we went to visit my parents today. Entering their apartment, she went straight to malted milk ball tin for a little treat, then made the connection between her fingernail polish color, the malted milk balls, and her great-grandmother. Melinda snapped this picture.