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Inherited Skills

June 18, 2011

It was my late paternal grandmother, Nana Beach, from whom everyone said I inherited my organizational skills. Her home – from a 13-room house on Nantasket Beach to a small condo in Delray Beach – was always meticulous, her Tupperware never without their partner.

Papa's Handywork

But after spending this past week down in Boca Raton, Florida with my maternal grandfather, I now know part of my skills came from him.

Leafing through his small schedule book, were his and my step-grandmother’s doctors’ appointments, written down with times and what to bring for each visit. Pretty impressive since it’s hard enough for most people to just remember a dentist appointment. But for my grandfather, who’s going to be 90 in August, this is his job.

But it’s not his only job.

The pills they take between them range in the dozens. It takes my grandfather almost three hours to collate all of the pills into four separate containers, which lasts for two weeks. Colors, shapes, and doses need to be meticulously placed into certain slots, since not all the pills are taken at the same time. With fading eyesight, my grandfather sits at the kitchen table like a pharmacist placing blue ones in the morning slots, white ones in the three times a day slot, gold ones at night, and so on. Some pills he even cuts in half.

Growing up, even though my parents were organized, I always took things (a closet, a cabinet, the garage!) a step further. And now I know why: it’s in my DNA from two sides of the family.

Happy Father’s Day!


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