Grammy, As I Remember Her


(l-r, Armen Topakian in uniform, Krikor Topakian, Elizabeth Topakian and Theodore Topakian)

by Karen Topakian

This past Tuesday marked the 31st anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s death. It hardly seems like 3 decades since I’ve seen Grammy.

Unlike many family members, Grammy didn’t have an active sense of humor. But she did possess an active belief in hard work.

During most of her adult life, my grandmother worked at the family business, General Plating. Her father, affectionately known as Pa, bequeathed it to her along with its debts.

She worked tirelessly with both of her sons (my father and uncle). The three of them owned it jointly. And every grandchild worked there along with our mothers, the daughters-in-law.

She ran a business when most women her age were homemakers. And she ran it with pride.

She handled the money in the family. When monetary gifts were given and they were given often, it was she who handed out the cash not my grandfather.

Grammy had grit.

One morning she went to the dentist to have her teeth pulled. 8 of them, to be exact. After the appointment, Grammy didn’t go home to rest, as the dentist had recommend. She went directly back to work. Sick day? Not for Grammy.

She loved to knit, making us all sweaters and dresses for herself.

Grammy was old school, she only wore dresses. And often sleeveless ones, regardless of the temperature.

But come the costume party invite, Grammy donned “men’s” clothes. Trousers, jacket, tie and hat.

She loved to play poker on Wednesday afternoon, with the ‘girls.’ All in their senior years. I inherited her wooden rack of brightly colored poker chips.

Grammy never colored her snow-white hair and only wore a little make up. For a woman in the jewelry business she owned very little. A few diamond rings and an amethyst one.

She loved her family deeply without having to say it too often out loud. She treated all of us the same. Fair and square.  That was Grammy.

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