SOLANOY, Cecilia Cortez

Our Grandmothers, Ourselves (Raincoast $19.95)

Do not go to sleep with your hair wet, or when you wake up it will be all white.

Dream of goldfish, it means you will be rich. If the letters of your name and the name of your fiance add up to 25, your marriage will be happy... Drink water after every bath, it will prevent nosebleeds.”

Wed at 14 in the Philippines, Cecilia Cortez Solanoy brought Tagalog folk sayings and wisdom to Sault Ste. Marie that were not always useful in Canada. But ‘Nanay’s presence was inspiring for her granddaughters Anna Lusterio and Nora Lusterio, two of the 19 ‘bi-cultural’ women who have appreciated their grandmothers in Our Grandmothers, Ourselves (Raincoast $19.95).

“When we received the call that Nanay was ill, that it was near the end, my husband and I booked the earliest flight to the Sault. In the rented car, racing to the hospital, I cried as Eric Clapton’s ‘Would You Know My Name?’ played on the radio.”

With an introduction by Joy Kogawa, these 19 intimate profiles reflect the creative force of oral storytelling in families and communities. The anthology shows how grandmothers from foreign lands—such as Turkey, Lithuania, India, Ireland, Denmark, Jamaica and Japan—have been instrumental as role models and as friends.

“Outside the Western World,” says editor Gina Valle, “feminism has historically been about protecting familes and communities. Our grandmothers’ survival depended on female networks; in this interdependency, these women were pioneers of feminist tradition.” 1055192-270-3