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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

what i wrote for grammy

When someone you love dies, you’re supposed to have something poignant to say. Something meaningful. Something rich and noteworthy. Yet here I sit, staring at a blank page, with only the sound of the rain in the backround, fighting for the right words. In my efforts to write from the heart, my thoughts keep slipping back to memories of the Grandmother I had in my life when I was alot younger. The one who was free of pain, funny, easy to talk to & just a little quirky.

We used to sleep over her house. She’d let us stay up late & watch TV on her bed. Love Boat was always on back then. She’d make popcorn & let us eat in there. The wallpaper in the bedroom & bathroom of her mobile home had a strange design-just a bunch of random, scribbley lines really. Sometimes Grammy would see a picture in the squiggly lines and she’d take a pen and outline the picture. If we saw something in the lines we were allowed to use the pen on the wall too. I remember a candle, a snow shoe, a boat, Snoopy, Richard Nixon & Dick Van Dyke. Grampa must have hated it. But that didn’t stop her!

Grammy always had good snacks hidden away in her fridge. The Hershey bars were the best. She would only let us have one tiny square at a time. All the other good food was hidden in Cool Whip containers for some reason. Maybe Grampa didn’t like Cool Whip and all her secrets were safe that way. She always took the time to make the slow cook pudding. None of that instant stuff my sister likes. There is nothing like hot chocolate pudding. She never scorched the milk either. Perfection.

When Jason was naughty she’d swat him on the butt with a wooden spoon. That must be where my Mom learned it! Jason & I learned to hide the spoon under the playpen.
Grammy & Grampy had this Howdy Doody doll in the bedroom closet. My sister loved the thing but I was scared to death of it. One night, when we slept over there, Grammy must have had a few too many rusty waters and hid the doll under the covers of the bed I was sleeping in. I came across him in the dark and screamed my brains out. Amy & Grammy came busting in & laughed until they cried. I guess they planned the whole thing-they were always in cahoots! I think I peed my pants!

When I was 10 we spent the weekend with Grammy. She took us to a grocery store very late at night. At the checkout isle she asked the cashier if he thought Amy & I were pretty. He said yes. Then she asked us if we thought he was cute. I thought I would die right there. Neither of us answered-we just stared at the floor, hoping it would gobble us up. The guy looked about 18. In the car she told us how mortified we looked and she laughed the whole ride home. We all did. That poor cashier! I bet he never forgot it either.

She loved country music. Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Hank Williams……all that stuff still reminds me of her whenever I hear it.
She whistled all the time & Yodeled like a pro. She took requests & suffered no stage fright whatsoever.

She taught us to put the worm on the hook and row a boat. She would do anything.

I remember attending the fireworks with her. She loved every second of it & acted like it was her first time every time. Sometimes she’d bring sparklers.

When her dog would lay down by the couch, she always petted him & stroked his fur with her feet while he slept. I do the same thing with my dog.

She loved to talk about the job she had at the egg factory. She must have been an inspector. Think Lucy & Ethel at the chocolate factory.

Her yard had barrels everywhere. They were full of rain water she used for hair washing. She claimed it made her hair shiny. I wonder if she knew I was rinsing frogs in there.
On the front porch there was a huge lump of coal, Gram told us kids it would turn to gold one day.

Grammy didn’t like to throw anything away. Need a twist tie? She had 50. She was great at making something out of almost nothing.

Thanksgiving was celebrated at Grammy’s house until I was about 12. It was always fun and the wishbone was a huge deal to her. She saved them for years.

She loved having people over for parties. Everybody loved coming to her place.

There was a pond out behind her house and she enjoyed collecting frogs eggs & putting them in jars just to watch them.

She loved berry picking. Amy does too.

Amy remembers my Gram being an expert at falling asleep-and snoring- while standing up. I don’t recall seeing her do this, but I don’t doubt it in the least.

She had the tiniest little hands and feet, petite like a little kid.

My Grandmother had the most mischievous twinkle in her eye, & that is what my own husband will remember the most about my Gram.

When a new grandchild or great grandchild entered the family-genetically related or not- Grammy always welcomed that child with open arms. It never mattered to her where anybody came from or what color anybody was. If it did matter to her, she kept it to herself. In her later years, this was something I especially loved about her.

She was a great Scrabble & Cribbage player, until the very end. I never beat her at Scrabble once. She was ruthless! When my Mom would beat her at any game, she would brag about it. It was big.

Grammy never thought anything should cost more than 50 cents. Ever.
I remember her giving Amy a hard time because she bought 2 pair of panty hose instead of one. She was frugal but loved gift giving just the same. When Jessica had her twins, I took Granmy shopping for their first Christmas. She was so focused & took great care in picking out just the right gifts for the babies. They were coming to visit for the holidays and Grammy wanted their gifts to be perfect. At times her thoughts would become mixed up, but her thoughts were often on others.

For the four oldest grandchildren, Grammy was the last Grandparent we had left. We were blessed to have her to talk to until we were in our late 30s. You could tell her anything. I know all 6 of us have some funny memories of our Grandmother to pass on to all the great grandchildren. We will all miss her company very much.

When I think about the kind of heaven Grammy would like, I see full rain barrels, full Cool Whip containers, 50 cent dry cleaning and bountiful berry bushes, year round. I see huge gatherings with lots of country music and everyone she’s been missing for so long will be in attendance. Her parents. her siblings. her husband. Her friends.
So get ready Grampy, hang onto your hat. The real party is just about to start.
Love, Alison


Stacey said...

Aww. It made me cry. What a special grandma.

Alyssa's Mom said...

She sounds like an awesome Grandma!

I'm glad you have such great memories.

Lisa said...

That was the sweetest story Ali. What a gift to have such great memories. It took me down memory lane with my grandmother too.
I read the latest post too and I am so sorry for your loss but I am sure there is a party in heaven tonight!

FaerieMama said...

Boy, she sounds amazing, and alot like my Gram. I loved everything you wrote, it really gave me a sense of who she was. I am sorry for your loss, but so glad you have such wonderful ( and unique!) memories of her...

trying to survive said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I feel like I know your grammy after reading your post. I hope it's something you'll share with your kids so they can add their memories, too.

Anonymous said...

I think that was very poignant.
She sounds like a hoot!

Mike and Katie said...

That was a wonderful way to remember your Grandma. You don't need to say anything about her. Her beautiful soul shows in your stories about her.

I'm sorry about Howdy Doody though. That really wasn't very nice!



Justju said...

I'm so sorry, Ali. What a special "Grammy" she was!! You'll treasure those memories for a lifetime to come. She sounds a lot like my Maw-Maw who passed away 8 years ago. Hearts of cold, mischevious beyond words. Haha....Hugs for you, Ali.