Nana always said that I was so good as a little boy that she’d make me cry on purpose just because I hardly ever did. She always said I was the most gorgeous little boy anywhere and that nothing would ever bother me (wow has a lot changed). She’d say that I made her and Grandpa so happy and that nobody could ever take THAT away from them.
My favorite thing that Nana would do happened whenever she asked me for my hand. Nana and I would take the bus to downtown Hartford on Saturdays and walk from Constitution Plaza to G. Fox. Nana would say, “Ronnie, give me your hand.” And I would try and hold it. And her fingers would reach for the inside of my palm and wiggle so that I could not grab on to it. And she would repeat, “Ronnie, give me your hand.” I’d always say, “Nana!” And I would try to hold her hand again, only to have her wiggling fingers gently push my hand away. Again she would say, “Ron-nie, give me your hand!” And I’d giggle even louder, “Nana!” This would continue until she’d finally let my hand rest inside of her soft old lady hand.
My other Grandma worked in the G. Fox building. I will never ever forget the days that we’d take the elevator up to the fifth (or was it the ninth) floor. There would be a door leading into a room where rows of women sat in front of typewriters. Nana would have me sneak over to where Grandma sat and surprise her by giving her a big hug. Sometimes, just before my arms would wrap around her, I’d hear her coworkers yell, “Madeline, it’s Ronnie!” I will never forget the huge smile on both of my grandmother’s faces.
There was a restaurant on one of the floors in G. Fox that was kind of on a balcony. It was enclosed by glass (as I remember) so that you could see into it from the floor of the store. There were no chairs, just counters and high tables that you would stand at as you ate. The hot dog (or as Nana called it, a frankfurter) was the only thing that I ever ate in the clear restaurant.
G. Fox is where I discovered escalators and rotating doors. It’s where I ate ice cream while Nana had her hair done. Somewhere in that building, in its reconstructed halls, there is still the joy, the wonder, and a hundred splendid memories of a little boy.