Tag Archives: grandmother

Betrayal, in Hindsight

The interviewer sitting behind the microphone across from Maria was very young. Or maybe it was just that Maria herself felt so very old.

“Tell us how you came up with the name for the Mandy character,” the interviewer was saying.

“Well my grandmother’s maiden name was Amanda Rizenkraft,” said Maria. “It was her biscuits that I ate as a young girl and it seemed a fitting tribute, and it fitted with the main ingredient. I had to think about advertising though, which in those days was all about jingles that could be played on the radio, so I needed a rhyme. ‘Rizencandy’ seemed suitable. But for many decades afterwards many people asked my why I put rice in the biscuits. It’s traditional. They should have been asking why there was so much sugar. We did it to match the name, and it’s what the market of the time demanded.”

“Your biscuits are famous the world over. When the President of the United States met the President of China’s family, he gave boxes as gifts. Many famous luminaries have confessed to being fans, including Professor Tracey Luck, who said ‘there are two universal languages: mathematics and Mandy biscuits’. Did you think they would be so popular?”

“It’s quite remarkable to see a symbol of Upper Vlelland culture spread across the world. But for me it’s about nostalgia, memories of a bygone age. That’s what they mean to me.”

“Maria Loengraf, inventor of the Mandy Mandy Rizencandy biscuits, thank you for talking to us.”

“Thank you.”

The light on the microphones went off. The interviewer offered Maria some refreshments – a cup of tea and a plate of Mandy biscuits.

Maria smiled, but it didn’t reach her eyes. She picked up her walking stick and stood slowly.

“No thank you, dear,” she said. “They were never as good as the ones my grandmother made.”


Locked Away

One kitchen Sunday, young Emil’s grandmother requested dried rosemary. Some in the store cupboard. No dear, probably at the back. Further. Behind the potions.

Beyond dusty flasks, a row of jars hid in the dark. They bore labels etched with fruit and numbers: Boysenberry ‘51, Gooseberry ‘52, Bilberry ‘53.

They weren’t rosemary, yet Emil felt them draw from a corner of his mind an echo, a childhood tune. They must have been years old, almost as old as he. Did the number represent a year of creation? Were they still good? Were they his, once? He opened one and gently sniffed.

The smell reminded him of a sandwich clutched by a boy of eight, who stood on a beach, toes digging into the sand, one summer afternoon. His other hand shielded his eyes from the sun, his mind lost in a whirl of sailing boats and adventure. His reverie was interrupted by the girl – Jasmine. Of about his age. Golden hair, green eyes, inquisitive grin, freckles. She prodded the boy in the chest, daring him towards the sea. He smiled, chewed shyly, unsure what to say. She wiggled a button on his shirt to tease him and accidentally pulled it free. They both glanced around nervously for parental disapproval, but it was sleeping, over there in the shade. They shared a conspiratorial laugh… they ran…

Emil shook his head, and returned the jar to the shelf.

Some joys best left amongst the dust.

Grandmother saw the tears.

Give him time.