We were not the “cool kids,” but we certainly thought we were.
In reality, we were Catholic-grade school kiddos who twice a week walked about two blocks from our private school to the public middle school just to “be in the band.”
Not a rock band either – concert band.
There were seven of us – Lisa, Fidel, Devon, Allison, Matt, Michelle and myself. Lisa played the drums; Fidel, Matt and Allison were trumpet players and rest of us, clarinets. And none of us were THAT great. But, twice a week we got to mingle with the PUBLIC school kids.
And that alone made us “cool” in our minds.
I don’t remember what time we had to leave, but I do remember we always told our private school teacher that “we had to be there early” … that was our code.
We never had to be there early. In fact, most of the time we didn’t want to go – we just wanted out of school.
So there we went – in the rain, snow and any type of weather in between. The seven of us.
But, secretly, we were making a pit-stop.
You see, in between our school and the public school, in a two-story white house Lisa’s grandparents lived.
If I close my eyes, I can still remember walking into the side door and then up three steps into the small kitchen. Inside the kitchen was a table – making it even smaller, but no one ever sat in the dining room. Everyone congregated inside the kitchen.
And there would be Lisa’s grandma – we all just called her Gramma Sanchez – offering us nothing short of a meal. Wearing her button-up smock, Gramma Sanchez gave us warm tortilla shells – made with love and tasted like heaven.
Eventually, we forced ourselves to leave her house, but we knew we’d be back.
After we all graduated from Catholic school, the seven of us were never in the house at the same time ever again. But, that didn’t mean we never saw Gramma Sanchez again.
She was everywhere in our hometown – what with having six kids and too many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews to count – she stayed busy.
Gramma Sanchez was the most loved Gramma in my opinion. No matter how busy she seemed to be, she never shooed us band kids out of her kitchen. She never told us to stop coming. She never stopped making tortilla shells or tamales. She was a gramma to all of us.
Today, Nov. 2, she was called “home.” There, she was welcomed in the arms of her daughter CeCe, her husband and countless other relatives. I am pretty sure she is smiling down at her children and grandchildren left on Earth – watching them with that careful eye that only a grandmother has – all while telling stories of those crazy kiddos from St. Mary’s who never wanted to leave her kitchen.