Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grandma

When I hear the word Grandma I think of a little woman, soft chin length gray hair held back with two bobby pins, not fat, just plump in all the right places to allow for the most pleasing hugs. Her back is bent from years of hard work and calcium worn bones, but her face is that of an angel, soft cheeks, warm eyes that crinkle when she smiles and twinkle even when she tries to be stern.

My Paternal Grandmother raised me from the age 3 until my dad remarried when I was 7. She was well into her 60's when she took on the duties of motherhood again and I wish she were alive today so I could tell her how grateful I am for making those years so special for me. In the morning we would watch 'Romper Room' together. I would help in the garden as she took time to help me memorize the names of the flowers ('Morning Glories' always being my favorite, because of their name and their large, bright blue faces.) Together we named the 'horned (horny) toads' who lived under the garden hose. For lunch I would eat the world's best peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (no one will ever make them as delicious as my Grandma!) I remember playing post-office and banker under the kitchen table, scribbling on canceled checks and old envelopes. I would feed them back out to her through the rungs of the chairs, as she worked in the kitchen, doing laundry or preparing dinner. Afternoon meant quiet time while Grandma watched her show. 'General Hospital' was the only vice I ever knew my grandma to possess. Dinner usually consisted of roast or some sort of beef and I would help make the salad, which was more often than not a pear half, on a bib of lettuce, with a maraschino cherry tucked in the middle. My favorite dessert was often a mixture of cottage cheese & apple sauce.

When I started Kindergarten, Grandma would walk me the 3 1/2 blocks to school and be there in the afternoon to pick me up. She never learned to drive, but rain or shine she would be there waiting for me and ready to hear about my day. She didn't talk a lot but she listened carefully to everything I had to say.

By the time I was in 1st grade, I was old enough to walk to and from school on my own (this was many, many, years ago when the streets were safe for little kids.) I remember quite clearly the day one of my classmates brought polliwogs (tadpoles) for show n' tell. At the end of the day my teacher put them into dixie-cups and handed them out to the students as we waited in line. Some of the kids pushed and shoved and were scolded for not waiting patiently. Always the people pleaser, I waited near the end of the line for my very own polliwog. I was so excited to take him home and raise him into my very own little frog. However, by the time I reached the front of the line the dixie-cups had run out. I didn't care, I cupped my hand and waited as my teacher placed the treasure there along with a small puddle of water.

The walk home was longer than I ever remembered it being. I hurried as best I could, trying not to spill any of the water but really not succeeding. Eventually I took to spitting on the poor thing, not knowing this would likely hasten his demise. When I got home I ran into the house frantic for a glass of water for my little friend. My grandma must have been terribly confused by my tearful explanation but she grabbed a glass, quickly filled it with water and together we watched as the little polliwog lay perfectly still and sank to the bottom of the glass. We waited there a long time before my grandma explained that my little 'pet' had died. I don't remember the exact conversation we had about death but I do remember going out to the garden. My grandma allowing me to choose exactly where I wanted to bury my little friend. I chose a spot by the geraniums which were in full bloom at the time. My grandma dug a little hole with the trowel and together we said our goodbyes. I cried a little bit more, wondered about the mysteries of it all, but as little kids do, I moved on rather quickly. I never forgot it though. I'll always remember how tender and caring my grandma was about the whole event. My own mother might have laughed at me for being so silly. My step-mother would've certainly berated me for being upset over something so small. I guess that's why it's all the more meaningful.

I hope to be a Grandma someday. I hope my hair will be soft and gray, I plan to wear it back in bobby pins. I might wear bobby sox with a pair of mary janes. I'll probably wear a house dress and carry a dish towel over my left shoulder. I hope my cheeks are like soft apples and my eyes crinkle when I smile and twinkle even when I'm stern. I hope I'm patient and kind. I hope I don't talk too much but listen a lot... And I hope I make the world's best peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Miss you Grandma.

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14 Comments:

Blogger Mama's Losin' It said...

This was so sweet and touching. I bet losing your Grandma was like losing a mother. She sounds really special. It's the kind of childhood I hope my kids can brag about having when they grow up.

And of course you can turn in your homework next week!! Whenever you want!!

12:16 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger WheresMyAngels said...

Omgosh, that is a tear jerker. what w wonderful woman to help raise you. I'm sorry she is gone.

I was closer to my grandmother than I was my mother and when she passed it was so horrible and unexpected. My sister and I are still having such a hard time with it 5 years later. I'm sad that she did not get to meet her last grandchild, and I know they would of both adored each other.

Death is so hard.

1:40 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger Belle said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother.

6:06 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Hi Mama, And thank you. I'll be checking in on Tuesday for the assignment... Can't wait!
:-)

Hello Angels,
I'm sorry for the loss of your grandmother. Death is so hard. I lost my grandmother over 10 yrs. ago, but Alzheimer's had taken her away a few years before that. I wrote her a letter once before she died regarding the polliwog incident but I think at that point she was too far gone to know what it was about. Death IS hard but the memories are sweet.

Hi Belle and Thank-you.
:-)

7:48 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Aw, that was beautiful! You are lucky to have had such a great grandma!! That story of the tadpole is so sweet--but, couldn't the teacher have found another darn Dixie cup!!

8:50 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger lime said...

i know you've had so many sad memories to overcome. i am so glad you had your grandma who blessed you with happy memories and i am so glad you shared them here. that was just beautiful. i have no doubt you will make the best PB & J sandwiches.

8:59 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Hi Jennifer, Not enough dixie-cups... I KNOW!!! Truth be told I don't think the teacher had any idea she was going to spend her afternoon doling out tadpoles. Therefore she wasn't prepared.

Dear Lime,
Show me the person who hasn't had adversity to overcome and I'll show you someone ill prepared for the difficulties that may lay ahead... And thank you, I do intend to make an awesome pb&j... but there's no doubt I'll be soft in all the right areas and especially huggable!
:-)

10:40 AM, August 27, 2008  
Anonymous Christy said...

That is really sweet. My grandmother was very special to me too (more so than my actual mother) although she had her own issues. But like you, I'm grateful for the time I lived with her (age 3-7.)

I don't even want to THINK about being a grandma! Jeesh, you're scaring me a little on that one.

11:28 AM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Oh BELIEVE me Christy, I was just wandering down a trail of memories and intertwining them with the future. I have NO intention of become a Grandma ANYTIME soon!
:-)

12:03 PM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger Untypically Jia said...

This is beautiful. My maternal Grandmother raised me from age 2-15 and that's when she died. She was my best friend. Truly.

7:25 PM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Hi Jia,
At that age Grandma really fills the roll of Mom. How terribly sad to lose your 'best friend' at such a young age.

10:16 PM, August 27, 2008  
Anonymous santamaker said...

Dear friend, knowing you as I do, I know that you took after your grandmother, thank goodness...LOL
I read this with tears streaming down my face, wish I was there to give you a hug. Love the way that you mixed the bitter with the sweet. You are so talented. I am excited to get that bedding that you love ready for your visit...LOL Love ya

10:39 PM, August 27, 2008  
Blogger leezee52 said...

I'm back again...I feel we have alot in common.
I just love this post!

I put you on my bog roll.


Lee :)

5:13 PM, September 04, 2008  
Blogger EmBee said...

Well Hello Again Leezee and welcome back... And thank-you, I in turn look forward to getting to know you better.

Um, uh, by reading your blog of course!
:-)

7:50 PM, September 04, 2008  

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