The last time I saw Aunt Cary was in February of 1969. My paternal grandmother had died and a service was held in a New York City funeral home. The service was void of any meaning since the presider had no information about her. The only attendees were my father, his brother my uncle, several cousins, me and Aunt Cary. This grandmother was tolerated rather than loved, and there was not much grieving going on.
As we stepped out of the gloom of the stark room onto West 43th Street, Cary exclaimed, “Let’s all go to Sardi’s and have a drink!” It was the perfect suggestion to cap off a dreadful early afternoon. We walked over to West 44th, pushed a couple of tables together, and all had a drink. No one goes to Sardi’s on a non Broadway afternoon, so we had the place and the autographed caricatures to ourselves.
I will always remember that afternoon as Cary brought our sorry group out of the secret guilt we all held from our lack of grief. Laughter, a drink, jokes, and tales about everything except Gran redeemed the time.