No, the date?"
Nan looked looked out the window across the street, and got wet in the eyes.
"What's a matter?"
She didn't answer, I tried again.
"Nan, what's bothering you?"
Your cousin, who?"
"My older cousin."
I had my hint.
"Pasquale, your older cousin?"
"OK, where did he die?"
It was May 1999. I was at Nan's bedside at the Jewish Home on 106th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. She'd just passed her fourth anniversary in Room Frank 510 - we didn't celebrate.
"We're you guys close?"
Nan looked up, her eyes milky with macular degeneration.
"He was my best friend."
She was 12 in 1918, lived on 75th Street & York Avenue. Nan told me Pasquale lived around the corner and walked her to school when he wasn't working in the cigar factory on 69th Street.
"I was a tomboy, he'd always played catch with me, and he got me out of trouble with my mother ~ she loved him. He was tall, and always stepped in when she was ready to give me a whack. He'd pick Mom up and spin her round. She'd forgot all about me."
81 years later, my grandmother, 93, was remembering her cousin, Pasquale, with love.
Memorial Day fell on May 3oth. It started after the Civil War. It was a somber day, no fireworks ~ honor guards honoring the flag, and a long moment of silence at the ball game remembering those who died for their country.