My grandmother (at left), she of the salty expressions and the miracle diet, died thirteen years ago last week. She was in her nineties, recovering from a broken pelvis and losing her mind, but it still came too soon. Lately I think of her every morning on the way to the subway, when the smell of coffee, eggs, and bacon prepared with ancient appliances wafts from this one particular bodega, powerfully conjuring summer breakfasts in her Dallas kitchen, which was “cooled” only by an attic fan.
This photo must have been taken somewhere near Dallas around 1910. Granny’s grandma and namesake, Martha Caroline, is in the middle, and her sister Louise, who later died in a mental hospital, stands on the right.
They were much too poor to have bacon for breakfast then. From the look of things, they were even too poor to feed their horse. But Granny attributed her longevity to her childhood diet — lots of beans, onions, and greens.
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