Without a doubt (and as my 3 siblings will attest!), I was Grandma Ceil's favorite, as I was the firstborn child of her only son. I was named after her mother, Sarah, which means "princess". And she definitely treated me like one.
Grandma Ceil introduced me to frozen yogurt. The old school kind--actually freezing a container of Yoplait. She taught me how to tell time on the light blue Snoopy watch that she had bought me. She paid for my very first set of contacts when I was in 8th grade. In short, she spoiled me. Blatently. (Again, ask my siblings.) And she couldn't have been any prouder of me at my high school graduation. I still have the videotape of that. Seeing her on tape, settling into her seat in the front row.
Rumor has it that Grandma Ceil did not want my father, a nice Jewish boy, her beloved only child, to marry my mother, an Irish Catholic gal with 7 siblings. (I remember my Mom joking that because Grandma Ceil always referred to her as "shiksa", she just assumed that that was her name in Hebrew! Heh.)
Grandma Ceil had curly red hair (that never grayed) and was totally vain about her appearance, never leaving the house without that old lady makeup (Coty) pancaked on her face. As her hearing waned, she REFUSED to wear a hearing aid. At night, in her Ft. Lauderdale condo, one could hear her bedroom television blaring through the thin walls. Even over the volume of the living room TV. And her condo also had silver wallpaper in the bathroom. Silver! And shiny!
Grandma Ceil had polio as a child, so she walked with an uneven gait, one hip noticeably higher than the other. She had to wear special shoes. Always those same shoes. She had them in every color. I totally remember her bright blue ones. She always kept a tissue tucked in her wrist. Secured by her watch. And she always stole jelly packets and Sweet & Low from restaurants.
She loved pop culture and media gossip. And she certainly passed that characteristic on to my father...and me.
She pronounced certain words funny: She said "bottle" as "bott-ul". (I know my family is smiling as they read this because it's so true.)
During college spring break, I stayed with her in Florida my freshman and sophomore years. For my junior year, I also went to Ft. Lauderdale, but this time I was with 3 friends and we stayed in a hotel on the beach. I didn't go visit her. Too busy getting tan
Anyway, this one's for you Grandma Ceil. I know you'd be proud of all of us. Happy Birthday.