pen rainbow

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday—Good for You...Super Mamika!

My grandmother Betty & her dog, Cindee
Here's to being..."not normal!"

I LOVE this story.  

It's about a grandmother and a grandson.  Make that a 44-year old grandson and his 93-year old grandmother, Frederika (cool name), who also happens to be a Budapest-born baroness.  Seriously, I want a title, and baroness is a good fit.

So, what happened here is that Frederika's family owned the largest textile factory in Hungary before World War II, and when Frderika retired at age 80 from her career as a textile consultant (this is getting better all the time, isn't it?), she fell into a granny funk.  

Enter her French fashion & advertising photographer grandson, Sacha Goldberger, who in the comic book adventure version of this real life story is the Robin to her BatGranny.  Like his grandmother, Sacha looks at life through a lens of the Absurd, and not wishing to see his superhero grandma spend her remaining years drooling into a cup, Sacha came up with the idea of turning her humor and sense of adventure into a photography project called, Mamika, My Mighty Little Grandmother.  The photos were published last April in the U.S. 

Frederika decided to play along.  Now see, I totally get this.  I was lucky enough to have two fantastic grandmothers.  One, a towering icon in my eyes of grace, sophistication, elegance, and strength.  The other, my comic muse and a source of radiant joy for me as I was growing up.  I adored both of them, and I know that they would have each liked this story for different reasons.  

My gramma Pearle would have appreciated and fully endorsed the creative collaboration between a grandmother and her grandson.  And, she would have cheered on the chutpah of a 93-year old in silver tights, goggles and a cape.  

My gramma Betty would have loved the visual humor and the irony of a 93-year old superhero, not to mention the costumes.  Everything was funny to her, and I simply loved being in her company.  I get the vibe between Sacha and Frederika.  They're having fun and thumbing their noses at the concept of putting old folks on a shelf once they've exceeded their usefulness.

Sacha sums it up perfectly in his introduction...

In a society where youth is the supreme value; where wrinkles have to be camouflaged; where old people are hidden as soon as they become cumbersome, where, for lack of time or desire, it is easier to put our elders in hospices rather than take care of them, I wanted to show that happiness in aging was also possible.

In a blog post yesterday (1 Febr 2013) by New York Times writer Judith Graham, The New Old Age Blog, Frederika tells it like it is...

I like everything that my grandson does.  I hate not to do anything.  Here, with my grandson, I have the feeling I am doing something.  

Sacha refers to his grandmother as "exceptional."  Frederika makes no apologies for being "not normal."  

I like that.  Then again, I own 4 cats.  Frederika has a pug.  I wonder how I will look in silver tights...

To see more pix from their book, click HERE (courtesy of  My favorite... #6   :)