This morning when I was climbing Harlem Hill in Hamilton Heights, named after Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of the Treasury, because he lived there, I came upon a little old lady pushing a tiny grocery cart.

She was 5 feet tall, if she was that, in a yellow rain slicker though no rain was expected, and a bright red scarf tied tightly around her head.

She moved so slowly, I could have run up and down that hill forty times before she made it to the top yet like a turtle, making headway step by step.

“How are you?” I asked over my shoulder since we were the only ones out at that time.

“Veddy good,” she said, with a Slavic face ruddy and full.   She made me think of my Polish grandmother who too had cheeks like apples never needing rouge.

“Nice day, isn’t it?”

“Yis…but vain veddy soon.”

“Really? I thought it would be sunny today.”  She shook her head in firm disagreement.

“Well, have a good day.”

She waved me off with a dimpled smile.

Don’t you know not ten minutes later the skies opened?  Not for very long, just long enough to make her right.

As I stood beneath a huge Maple tree trying to stay dry, I thought of her and wondered if she had yet made it up the hill.





About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Thanks.
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29 Responses to Babushka

  1. micklively says:

    With those weather skills, she must have been a leprechaun, in disguise. Do they have Slavic leprechauns? Anyway, whatever, you should have grabbed her and demanded your three wishes.


  2. skinnyuz2b says:

    I had a grandmother that came over from Poland as a teenager. She went through Ellis Island and we called her Bochi. My Bochi had a sixth sense, too. After a wedding shower, she told my mother that my father’s sister-in-law was pregnant … by only a few weeks! My aunt didn’t even know it yet herself!
    Thanks for the mental picture of that cart being slowly pushed up the hill.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess we all had someone like that. Love that her name was Bochi. It’s very moving to visit Ellis Island when you think of all the Bochis that came through there. Thanks for sharing Skinny 🙂


  3. Beverly Giangiacomo says:

    It’s so nice to start the morning knowing still that the elderly always have something to teach us!
    What a sweet, little old lady….I’ll bet her knees were giving her the message….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Babushka! Now that’s a word I haven’t heard since my childhood! My mother had a sixth sense about stuff too. It was scary. I could never pull one over on her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MJ says:

    What a simply wonderful piece, Susannah! A parable with Hans Christian Anderson whimsy, William Carlos Williams imagery, and a nod in passing to Hamiltonian New York. It’s even seasonally perfect—a literary hit outta the park in World Series month!


  6. MJ says:

    Thanks for your kind words. This little piece is such an up, I’m having fun with it—with apologies to Mr. Williams:

    The Red Babushka

    So much depends
    A yellow slicker
    glazed with rain
    beside the tiny
    grocery cart.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bet she went out prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. People can surprise the heck out of you.


  9. She probably felt it in her bones. My mom is a human barometer. Slow and steady is a clear sign of rain. She sounds adorable!


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