Friday, November 19, 2010

My Grandma

Grandma in 1984
with Amy, her
I had a classy grandma.  I never had any trouble figuring out how old she was because she was born in 1900, fifty years before me.  I passed her up in size by the time I was 10 or 11, and that made me a little sad -- not because I minded being tall or I minded Grandma being short, but because she had some really pretty dresses that I wished I could borrow.  They were flamboyant, covered with multi-colored flowers, and I really wished they'd fit me.

When we were young, my grandparents lived in Bellingham, where Grandad pastored the Free Methodist Church.  It was on Alabama street, right around the corner from a feather shop. The living room/dining room that spread across the front of the house allowed enough room for the whole family to visit for holidays.  We'd climb the steps and throw open the door to the house warmed by the roasting turkey, the stove with every burner heating up some delicious dish and the people we loved gathered to spend the day.  We twelve grandkids would spill into the back yard when the weather was decent but make our own fun inside the house on a foul-weather day.   It felt like stepping into C.S. Lewis' wardrobe when we played in the closet of one of upstairs bedrooms that we liked to explore.  Later we'd bump our way down the stairs on our bottoms, back to check out what the adults were doing, then through the kitchen to find the Chiclets Grandma had stashed in a drawer and down the stairs to the unfinished basement to play some made-up game.  It's the house I keep looking for but never find.  When I read, it's the house that most often becomes the home of the characters in my book.

Sometimes the girls would gather in Grandma and Grandad's bedroom to look at Grandma's pretty things.  We especially loved her little porcelain lady that glowed in the dark.  One by one we'd step into her closet and, nestled between her dresses and Grandad's suits, we'd see in the deep darkness the beautiful porcelain lady, emitting a beautiful glow.

Later in the day, after we'd made our own fun, we'd go to Grandma's game cupboard and pull out coloring books or table games or paper and pencils for drawing. Or we'd gather around the piano and sing.  There was always something wonderful to do at Grandma's house.

Grandma liked to work with her hands.  For my birthday one year she gave me a ceramic wall hanging she made for my room.  It hangs there today.  I also have a lovely covered dish that she made in her ceramics class that Mom passed on to me. She did some painting and sewing too, but I'm not sure she ever found a use for the fancy feathers from the shop in Bellingham.

She also loved to bake. Thinking about Grandma reminds me of date pinwheel cookies, snowballs, bon bons and a delicious recipe made with Special K cereal and butterscotch chips.  Melt-in-your-mouth delicacies, compliments of Grandma.

My sweetest memories of my grandparents are in their later years, when I worked at Warm Beach and they lived on the campgrounds.  I would stop in to see them after work or follow them home after an evening service and we'd sit around their table, enjoying a meal or some tea and cookies, and just chat.  They were so interested in my life and glad for the company.  We'd read the Bible together and pray, and sometimes I'd stay overnight with them.  Unhurried, lovely times to just be together.

I love you, Grandma.

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