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Submitted on
June 22, 2012
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We walk into the apartment building.  The building for old people.  

It smells like old people.

We silently take the elevator to the second floor; her room is 205.  Mom has the key, so she opens the door. The apartment is so empty.  No little old ladies with white hair and a waggling crooked finger.

Empty.

There's still newspaper on the floor by the door.  Mom and I remove our shoes and put them on the newspaper, lest her ghost throw shoes at us.  Or, maybe, hit us with a broom.  She never did it to me, but Mom says she used to.

The pantry is full of food; mostly Fig Newtons.  We always brought her Italian cookies when we came to visit, but she'd make us eat them while we were there.  We would insist they were for her, but what good were cookies without someone to share them with?  Italian cookies, Fig Newtons, and tea.

The cookie jar on the counter is full of tea bags.  You could never have Italian cookies and Fig Newtons without tea.  Or, coffee, though Mom always said I couldn't have any.  Tea with milk and sugar for me.  The taste still reminds me of her.

We venture into the bedroom.  The bed is made perfectly; the covers don't move, even when we sit on them.  I wonder who made the bed.  Was it her, or did someone else come and make it after the fact?  Did she make it that morning before she fell in the laundry room?

Jesus is staring at us from His cross on the wall.  I stare back.  He looks sad.  I guess I wouldn't feel happy, either, if I were nailed to a cross.  He's with her now.  I bet He's smiling over her.  There's a rosary on the dresser.

Mom is opening the dresser drawers now.  The top drawer has no clothes; only pictures.  Ninety-five years of pictures.  Flower shops, grandchildren, sisters, daughters.  A deceased son; he never left home.  Died of a stroke nine years before.  She found him when she came back from grocery shopping.  I still remember her weeping over his grave.

We put the pictures away and get up from the bed; the covers still don't move.  I follow Mom into the living room.  The new television we bought her sits on top of the old one.  She liked the old one; it had the dial to change the channels, but you couldn't get cable on it, and it was so old, too.  She didn't like the remote control at first, but she got used to it.

There are pictures everywhere.  Almost a century of love and memories on the walls and almost every surface.  The glass cabinets are full of trinkets; the key is still in the cabinet door.  Mom says I can take something.  I take a little plastic elephant, but nothing more.  It will go nicely with my collection.  I don't even collect elephants, but somehow I got a collection.  I just have so many that people think I do, and they give me more.  

I guess I did collect this one.

There's a wedding picture on the wall.  It's black and white, from seventy years ago.  She looked so young and so beautiful.  She must have been so happy.

The are albums full of pictures in the drawers here, too.  We take some.  She won't mind.

I look in the pantry on the way out; the orange juice isn't there.  She told me once that she kept it there, and after that, I was always glad I never drank any.

We pick up our shoes from the newspaper and leave, and the apartment is empty once more.
My great-grandmother, Grandma Josie, died on June 10, 2007. She slipped on some water and hurt her hip in the laundry room across from her apartment, and they did surgery; she didn't recover. We lived in Maine at the time, and she lived in Syracuse, New York, so we came back for the funeral. My Nana (her daughter) sent us in to her apartment to see if anything needed to be put in order and to see if we wanted anything before my cousins got there. What I remember most is the still, quiet emptiness of the apartment, and how even though she wasn't there, it still felt like her. This was five years ago now, but I still miss my Grandma Josie like crazy. She was a feisty old woman, and I look forward to seeing her in heaven one day.

Questions for critiquers:
- How is the flow? Where can it be tweaked?
- I was trying to go for a lonely, quiet sort of feel here. How did I do? Can it be improved? How?
- Are there any grammatical/orthographic errors?
- Are the details too personal to be understood, or did I explain them well enough? I wanted the piece to be personal as well as accessible.

:iconthewrittenrevolution:
Critique: [link]

OHMYGOD A DD I I I I DON'T EVEN OMG
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-01-01
Epitaph for an Old Italian Woman by =snurtz The suggester writes, "A deeply personal nonfiction piece that is nevertheless a moving and lovely piece of literature for a public audience. The prose is to-the-point, simple, direct, short. And yet, for all its crispness, it manages to be sweet and sentimental." ( Suggested by pinballwitch and Featured by thorns )
:iconanotheroddity:
It is a masterpiece of simplicity. The piece flows very well, and has a lovely smooth feel.

The little ambient things are listed in clever detail that really adds accent to the piece. It is a piece of love, quiet, and nostalgia.
It has motivation/reason, an exemplary technique, and leaves a calm, yet yearning impact. A reader can relate, understand, or simply learn.

I enjoy the technique of 'a simplistic masterpiece' , which I feel is a piece that is full of detailed elements and beauty, but is yet still filled with of a beautiful simplistic character.

This was a good read, thanks :)
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22 out of 22 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

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:iconpanicrusnik09:
PaniCrusnik09 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
I'm crying now. Of fear, for I selfishly don't want to lose my own. Such a poignant piece, to instill these... Thank you for the strength to write and share this.
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
I'm sorry to make you cry! <3
Reply
:iconpranavmash:
pranavmash Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
This is beautiful writing. Sorry to hear about your loss. Such writing is a wonderful way to keep memories alive. Joy and Love!
Reply
:iconpinballwitch:
pinballwitch Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013
Ahaha so glad ^thorns decided to feature it! :D Congrats congrats congrats!!!
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:iconkaye00:
Kaye00 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This reminds me of my Grandma. Basically everything in this sounds like her.
Reply
:iconkyanitearcher:
KyaniteArcher Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Brilliant and smooth. You really captured the feel you were aiming for here; it's as if I can smell the dust and old-people smell of the room. Congrats on the DD :)
Reply
:iconredemmo:
Redemmo Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013
I have one critique, this line bothers me:

I look in the pantry on the way out; the orange juice isn't there. She told me once that she kept it there, and after that, I was always glad I never drank any.

Maybe I'm just being thick and not reading the nuances properly, but the line seems out of place. "I was always glad I never drank any" is a rejection, and I just can't see how it's supposed to meld with the rest.

This piece is very touching, though. It has a good opening; the shortness of the first sentences reassures readers that it's not going to be a ramble. If it'd been a long descriptive paragraph at the beginning, it probably would have scared off most readers. Personally, I especially like the bit about the elephant collection, and how "I guess I did collect this one."

Cheers,
Redemmo
Reply
:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
Thanks for your critique! I can understand how you'd think that - I just sort of thought it was a funny little fact about my grandmother. I remember one time that she was at our house, and we pulled the orange juice out of the fridge. She said, "Oh, you keep yours in the fridge? I keep mine in the pantry." It was just one of those silly old lady things. ^_^

Thank you for all your kind comments <3
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:iconbloodyroyalty:
BloodyRoyalty Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
So sad. Personally, I've never experienced the death of a grandmother. It must've been tough.
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:iconsnurtz:
snurtz Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Student Writer
It was, but I knew her time was soon... I mean, she was 95 years old. The last time I saw her, I said goodbye to her in a way that I knew I'd be satisfied with if I never saw her again. That helped a lot. :)
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