Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Little Girl's Perspective of Grandma

I was visiting with my sister this evening and she said she liked my piece about Grandma.  She told me she had written something similar years ago. I read hers and really liked it so I asked her permission to post a copy here.  Enjoy:

Grandmothers are very special people. No one else can combine the love of a mother, the knowledge of years of experience, the closeness of a friend and at the same time crack the whip and get wanted results like a grandmother.
The responsibilities of a grandmother are many, The head of several generations, all going in different directions.  The chief cook of those memorable holiday fares.  Reinforcing parents' rules with one hand and with the other slipping their grandchildren a cookie.
My grandmother fits this description completely.  We were fortunate enough to live close to her as we were growing up.  We always knew Grandma loved us.  She told us often.  Not being confined to the role of mother, Grandma could let down and be a friend.
Saturdays were made even more special when we were allowed to spend the night with Grandma.  We sat up late, Grandma right there with us, just as involved in the late show as we were. There were walks in the hills on more than one occasion. Grandma was there, walking stick in hand, leading the way, opening our eyes to things we would have missed altogether if she wasn't with us.
I remember the dresses she made me during the time when my figure wasn't quite what it should have been. They were camouflage for my imperfections.  Now I can look at the quilt she made and discover pieces of those dresses and the memory of quilting day when we all gathered on Grandma's patio, stationed around the quilting frames. Grandma, Mother and the Aunts would stitch and cut the threads.  We kids followed along tying the knots.
My first bra was quite a big deal.  Grandma saw to that.  After living through her reaction I managed to see my first day back to school with little or no inhibitions about the possibility of someone noticing.
The knowledge one uneducated person can accumulate is astounding.  I shouldn't say uneducated, Grandma was self-taught. She read constantly and shared her knowledge with us all.  I guess that's where I and many of us got our addiction to books.  When Grandma read a book the rest of the world did not exist. What else was there for us to do but grab a book and join her.
Learning from Grandma wasn't too bad an experience. Even if her constant motto was "If you're going to learn to do it, you may as well learn to do it right."  And we did.  She was the one who showed me the technique I still use when ironing.

Little Girl - part two

I helped on laundry day, pushing the clothes through the wringer, into the rinse tub and into the bluing tub went the whites.  I believe my first cooking experience was at Grandma's. The egg I fried was far from perfect. The hardened yolk, framed with a crispy, browned edged egg white, just stared at me from the plate.  But, I got to cook it myself. That's what counted.
Grandma always kept chickens and ducks.  We learned to feed them and to keep their water pans filled with fresh water.  We always knew when one of her hens had hatched some eggs or when Grandma had been to the feed store for a new batch of chicks.  A box would be sitting in the living room by her chair, rigged with a light bulb for heat.  There the little ones would stay until they were old enough to care for themselves outside. That is another practice I adopted from Grandma.  Caring for the fuzzy yellow chicks indoors until they were ready to go outside.
Grandma has always been a lover of beautiful things.   She always kept her yard edged with flower beds.  Bricks, standing on end leaning on each other would outline those flower beds.We spent many a summer afternoon straightening bricks and helping weed between the multi-colored beauties.  I was always fondest of the Fuchsias that hung in the wooden pots around the patio.  And the Martha Washington Geraniums that grew along the fence.
My favorite memories and those in which I would gladly live over again, if possible, are the eves of holidays, especially Thanksgiving.  Although Grandma's house was small, that's where the family gathered at holiday time.  Some of us kids would spend the night before Thanksgiving with Grandma.  We would sit up very late just to watch Grandma put the turkey into the oven.  Always a large bird, overstuffed with cornbread stuffing.  After careful preparation into the oven it went and into the feather bed we would go.  Waking up to that aroma of baking turkey, climbing up  out of the feather mattress is something to remember.The family would soon start drifting in, filling the little house to the corners.  It didn't phase Grandma.  She followed through the day, a whip in one hand and a cookie in the other.
I regret that my girls couldn't have spent more time with this remarkable person before we moved away.  I'm sure most of their shyness would be  melted away layer by layer without them realizing it.  They would have been exposed to much more than they are at home.  Going to Grandma's is a little like entering the world of Auntie Mame without the frills.
At seventy seven and with failing eyesight she still charms every kid in the neighborhood.  The little one come to Grandma Ada's for cookies and coffee. The older ones come to get a booster shot of confidence. I'm hoping when my turn comes I can put aside the role of mother and step in to the role of friend, fun-maker and teacher.  The role of a very special person like my grandmother.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Story - The Original Photo Bomber

We've had a death in the family and I am out of sorts. So before I continue my narrative here's a photo taken in 1957. Pictured here is my cousin Ronnie and his wife Wanda.  It was taken in my grandma's front yard in Manhattan Beach. Note my dad's '53 Buick parked on the street. And of course, there I am at 12 years old peeking around from behind them. I'm wearing my black and white high top Red Ball Jets.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

July 4

While we are waiting for the family to arrive for the holiday festivities I went to the garden for some photos:

I didn't find these in the garden.  Red, White, and Blue cookies.

Progress Report

On Tuesday I had the surgery on my nose.  It went well.  I'm amazed at how much tissue can be cut away and yet the reconstructive procedure can return the appearance back to normal. (after healing has occurred and swelling goes away.) Gracen has been impatient with her Poppy unable to join her outside for play time. Grandma has tried to spend time with her in the yard but grandmas are just not as silly as grandpas so it's just not the same.
The doctor is pleased with how I've brought the glucose levels under control.  I haven't heard the results of the kidney function test.