When I was very young, Taffy had the two long couches in her living/dining room recovered from green to red. When I was in college, they reverted back to green. Other than that and the new carpet my Aunt Susan bought her recently, the apartment hasn’t changed.
If you’d been there in the 1970s, and had memorized where the sheets, cutlery, and food were, you will be able to walk in today and find everything in exactly the same place. Bonzie’s cupboard may hold a few different items, but the Tupperware is in the cabinet between the stove and the refrigerator, and the blender is in the one to the left of the sink. Bread? Second drawer on the left of the stove.
Not only do things never move, but they hardly seem to change. Most families I know have gotten new plates in the last 20 years or so. Then you have Taffy, who actually went and found people making reproductions of her apple plates, so she could fill in some gaps in her sets. Her silverware is the same settings she’s been using since her marriage, and Taffy and Susan traversed eBay to pick up new spoons not that long ago.
As for the rest of the furniture, rest assured that the green and brown plaid chair in her room is still the same. The green sofa bed is new, but is an almost perfect match to the one that finally broke (and the new one is remarkably lighter and easier to unfold). Steven’s bedroom has only changed with the addition of the washer/dryer combo in his shower.
But that’s the way we want it at Taffy’s. We don’t want her to change. We want her to close the first act at a dinner party (or the luncheon after our high school graduation), and we want her to surprise us with friends we haven’t seen for years, just because she knows we’re coming over. That’s the Taffy we expect and the one we admire.
Of course the decor did change once, for my parent’s wedding, but not because we all wanted it to be decorated for a wedding. No. My father and mother flew in from Israel, only to learn that their wedding plans had gone up in smoke. Literally! A frayed wire had erupted into flame in the wall between Taffy’s bedroom and the next apartment. Thankfully there was no severe structural damage, but the entire place needed to be repainted.
Having seen pictures before and after, I can tell you that there is no difference. The apartment is just as much of a delight today as it was then.
The apartment isn’t the only thing that never changes. Taffy is a sporto and will always be one. Be it her being a swimmer in her youth or the phone calls at midnight to tell me to get up, I have to watch the last inning of the Indians game.
My girlfriend and I had been visiting Cleveland for a weekend with Taffy and my Father, and our puddle-jump one-hour flight back became a disaster. We’d been supposed to fly out at 7 PM, but by 9 PM the flight had been silently pushed back twice. At 10:30 PM, they were going to cancel the flight entirely and fly us out tomorrow morning. A salvo of angry customers later (all threatening to trade our tickets in with American, who had a near empty flight leaving at 11 PM), and we got on a plane that had the heat stuck on and no food service. We dragged our asses home at almost 11:30 PM (gaining that hour coming back to Chicago), and the phone was ringing.
Where had we been!? The Indians were winning! When we’d left town, the tribe was back 10 runs and it was the 8th inning. Now it was the 11th inning and we were tied! Regardless of how tired I was, or how much I wanted to go to bed for getting up at 6 AM for work the next day, I put on ESPN and camped out in front of the TV. It was magic. And Taffy made sure I shared it with her.
I’m not the only one put out for Taffy’s love of sports. Her sister, Rosanne, has had to deal with it all her life:
Taffy must have been around 15 when she developed a crush on Bob Feller, the brand new 18 year old pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. She was already a huge baseball fan and used to drag me with her to games, despite the fact that I didn’t even like baseball!
Taffy also loves basketball. Go on and ask her about LeBron James, I dare you. When he was the darling of Cleveland, she loved him. As soon as he started acting like “an immature ass” (a quote from dinner recently), she wanted me to make a website to tell everyone he was terrible, and not to buy Nike anymore. I’ve known her to watch football as well, but she never waxes rhapsodic about the sport. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been chastised for not watching the Cavs games (“But Taff! I live in Chicago!” is never good enough).
As a final note, my father gave Taffy a wonderful gift in 2005. For her 85th birthday, Dad had the announcers of the Indians game wish her a happy happy. Taffy was so delighted that she had to call everyone and tell us. At least, after she got a hold of my father in Japan!