Water by the Spoonful

by

Quiara Alegría Hughes

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Mami Ginny is Elliot’s aunt and Odessa’s sister, though she raises Elliot as her own son and Elliot thus considers her to be his real mom. Mami Ginny never appears onstage, dying of cancer before Scene Three, but is constantly referenced throughout. To Elliot, Mami Ginny is a model mother—a foil for Odessa’s failure to take care of him. To Yaz, Mami Ginny is the elder of their extended family, the figure who holds everyone together, and an anchor of their Puerto Rican community. Mami Ginny thus represents the responsibility and embrace of ethnic heritage that Yaz left behind in pursuit of her “normal” life, and which she ultimately chooses to return to, replacing Mami Ginny as the new elder.

Mami Ginny Quotes in Water by the Spoonful

The Water by the Spoonful quotes below are all either spoken by Mami Ginny or refer to Mami Ginny. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Theatre Communications Group edition of Water by the Spoonful published in 2017.
Scene Five Quotes

ELLIOT: All those have carnations. I don’t want a carnation within a block of the church.

YAZ: You told me to eliminate seven. I eliminated seven. Close your eyes and point.

ELLIOT: Am I a particularly demanding person?

YAZ: Yes. What’s so wrong with a carnation?

ELLIOT: You know what a carnation says to the world? That they were out of roses at the 7-Eleven.

Related Characters: Elliot Ortiz (speaker), Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Mami Ginny
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Fourteen Quotes

YAZ: […] I wrote a list [of achievements] on a piece of paper and dug a hole in Fairmount Park and put it in the ground and said, “When I turn thirty, I’ll dig it up and cross it all off.” And I promise you I’ll never have the courage to go to that spot with a shovel and face my list full of crumbs, decoys, and bandaids.

Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Scene Fifteen Quotes

YAZ: I’m the elder now. I stay home. I hold down the fort.

Related Characters: Yaz / Yazmin Ortiz (speaker), Elliot Ortiz, Mami Ginny
Related Symbols: Yaz’s Piano
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mami Ginny Character Timeline in Water by the Spoonful

The timeline below shows where the character Mami Ginny appears in Water by the Spoonful. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Scene One
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...As they wait, Elliot tells Yaz that he is having trouble getting his mom Mami Ginny to eat healthy to help her through the chemotherapy—she always wants to cook with heavy... (full context)
Scene Three
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...curtness of a text message infuriates Elliot and he feels guilty for leaving his Mami Ginny alone that day. He tells Yaz that he was so upset he punched through a... (full context)
Scene Five
Internet Communities and Human Connection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...the funeral preparations, the relatives arriving from Puerto Rico, and the family fighting over Mami Ginny’s possessions. To avoid it, Elliot suggests they just spend all day at the flower shop... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...which floral arrangement to buy for the funeral, hoping for something that looks like Mami Ginny’s garden. Elliot refuses to have anything with carnations since it makes them look poor. Although... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...it.” Elliot remarks that she is the new “elder” of the family now that Mami Ginny is gone, a thought which unnerves Yaz since she is only twenty-nine. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...tells him that she wants to go to Puerto Rico with Elliot to spread Mami Ginny’s ashes. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...Although Elliot thinks it is better that she left, she worries that now that Mami Ginny is gone, no one will be there to hold the extended family together. Elliot is... (full context)
Scene Six
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Internet Communities and Human Connection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...same Arabic phrase. As the forum members are chatting, Haikumom sees a picture of Mami Ginny, her sister. At first she is excited, until she realizes it is an obituary. The... (full context)
Scene Seven
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Internet Communities and Human Connection Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Odessa, whom Elliot reveals to be his biological mom, though he was raised by Mami Ginny. Elliot and Yaz are angry at Odessa for not meeting them at the flower shop... (full context)
Scene Ten
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Yaz and Elliot stand together at the front of a church, conducting Mami Ginny’s funeral and commemorating her life: the public gardens she built, the community homes she refurbished,... (full context)
Scene Fourteen
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...okay, but Yaz denies it, especially compared to what Odessa did for other addicts and Ginny did for their community. She wasn’t around to stop Elliot from being shot in the... (full context)
Scene Fifteen
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...and putting them in plastic bags. She says she’s going to plant them in Mami Ginny’s garden, though Elliot warns customs will snag her in the airport. Elliot receives a text... (full context)
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
Elliot is excited for her. However, as they get ready to toss Mami Ginny’s ashes over the waterfall, he tells Yaz that he’s not going back to Philadelphia, he’s... (full context)
Substance Addiction Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Freedom, Identity, and Dissonance Theme Icon
...stay home. I hold down the fort.” Elliot declares, “I’m walking.” Together, they toss Mami Ginny’s ashes. (full context)