Study Guide

Grandma Sylvia Simon in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

By Judy Blume

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Grandma Sylvia Simon

No Old Lady Shoes on this Old Lady

She's got style… and sass… and Mr. Binamin right where she wants him. Not sure who we're talking about? Why it's Grandma Sylvia, of course, Margaret's favorite grandma. Check out this description of Granny S:

Grandma smelled delicious. She was wearing a green suit and had on lots of green eye shadow to match. Her hair was silver blonde. Grandma's hair color changes about once a month. (8.10)

You just know that any grandma who smells good, wears a bright colored suit, and matches her eye shadow to her outfit is going to be awesome. There's nothing stuffy or old seeming about this lady—she just oozes energy and pizzazz—and as Margaret's only non-estranged grandparent, Grandma Sylvia carries out her duties with aplomb. It takes two to tango, though, and Margaret definitely holds up her end of the relationship. Not only do they talk on the phone, but they write each other too. Here's an excerpt from one of Margaret's letters to Granny S:

I forgot to tell you this over the phone, but when we went to Lincoln Center there was slush all over the place so I couldn't sit by the fountain. I had to wear boots too, and my feet sweated during the concert. Mom wouldn't let me take them off, the way you do. It snowed again yesterday. I'll bet you don't miss that, do you! But snow is more fun in New Jersey than in New York. For one thing, it's cleaner. (16.2)

What we think is coolest here is that we can see that Grandma Sylvia is such an important player in Margaret's life. How do we know? Margaret's writing to her to tell her things she forgot to tell her on the phone—which shows us that telling her grandma things is really important to Margaret. They were just in touch with each other, but Margaret's got a few more things she wants her grandma to know about. Pretty sweet, right? We sure think so.

But it isn't all roses with Grandma Sylvia, and Grandma Sylvia is guilty of pushing religion on Margaret from time to time. In her defense, though, she seems to wait for Margaret to bring it up:

So I asked her, "Can I go to temple with you sometime?"

Grandma absolutely stared at me. I never knew anyone could open her eyes so wide.

"What are you saying? Are you saying you want to be Jewish?" She held her breath.

"No. I'm saying I'd like to go to temple and see what it's all about."

"My Margaret!" Grandma threw her arms around me. I think the cab driver thought we were crazy. "I knew you were a Jewish Girl at heart! I always knew it!" (8.18-22)

It sounds a little bit like Grandma Sylvia's been waiting quite a while for this moment, right? Just look at the last thing she says: "'I knew you were a Jewish Girl at heart! I always knew it!'" In other words, Grandma Sylvia's had a hunch that Margaret would come to Judaism on her own. Bad news, Granny S—not so much. But it isn't a problem. These two are so close—and Grandma Sylvia is so cool and respectful of Margaret—that Margaret not aligning herself with Judaism doesn't break their stride.

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