Sometimes we travel for sad reasons. My grandmother passed away last week – she of the Bubby’s Mandlebrot fame. It was a long, lonely drive to Baltimore. My mother and I agree that it wasn’t tragic, though. She was almost 96, lived all but her last 24 hours in her own apartment (never needing assisted living) and basically went to sleep in a hospital bed with her daughter and her two best friends beside her.

Leaving Baltimore was tough. I found myself dawdling at Panera, finding an excuse to check email one more time, procrastinating getting on the road. Bubby was the last of her generation still in Baltimore. Everyone else lives in the suburbs or Florida now. The city was such a part of family lore. My first car trips as a child were to her apartment. We weren’t natives, but we weren’t tourists either. Now that’s Bubby’s not there to visit anymore, does that change our status?

Bubby took me on my first overseas trip – Israel when I was 15. She always wondered where I got my journalism skills from – despite knowing everyone in Jewish Baltimore and writing copious letters to everyone who was ever related to anyone she knew. She even started keeping journals and memoirs nine years ago. We found some dozen notebooks. I’ll transcribe them this summer, I hope. I know there’s a lovely essay in all of this, probably more than one.

I’ll post more thoughts as they come.

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