If Bea Arthur was your grandma, you would probably notice that she didn’t smell quite like old lady, but rather a strong mix of musk and patchouli. She wouldn’t be the type to send you a card in the mail for major holidays or life milestones. Instead, she would probably expect you to be the one doing the lavishing. Bea Arthur is also the sort of grandmother who you can never imagine at another age apart from old. As such, she would never express interest in things of a “youth-oriented” nature.
When you went over to Grandma Bea’s house, you might be briefly bowled over by the amount of art deco lamps populating the premises. Occasionally, you would catch her reverting to her Jewishness when you smelled the scent of latkes wafting from the kitchen or caught sight of the Torah hastily shoved underneath her canopy bed.
She would blanch (no Blanche DuBois reference intended) when you addressed her by her real name, Bernice Frankel, and wonder why you felt the need to bring that part of her past up. She would oblige when you wanted to talk about cast personality conflicts while working on the Golden Girls, but she wouldn’t reveal anything truly juicy. She might talk briefly about All in the Family, but would prefer it if you stroked her ego by making greater mention of her filmography.
You could never expect fresh-baked cookies or words of encouragement from Grandma Bea. But what you would enjoy most about her was her refreshing doses of honesty, especially when informing you that you’ve got no gumption and you look like shit.