Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Neighborhood Grandparents

Jack is taking a nap.  Polly is here cleaning (hooray!).  I just sent the kids down to Grandpa's with a box of cookies.  Who can resist cute kids with cookies?  Not Grandpa, that's for sure.

If you don't have a grandparent close enough that your kids can walk to their house, I recommend that you run out and get one ASAP.  If none of your parents cooperate, borrow someone else's.

When I was a kid, my great-grandmother lived next door.  It was AWESOME.  She was my mom's mom's mom.  My mom's mom and my mom's siblings all lived in Grammaland and so everyone was always coming over for one thing or another - to see us or Great Grandma , to pick something up or drop something off, so we got to see our aunts and uncles all the time, and our Grandma, and our Great-Grandma.

Great Grandma would tell me the most wonderful stories about when she was growing up, and when she was raising her family.  It was like talking to Laura Ingalls - what do you mean, you didn't have a TV or a phone or a car or INDOOR PLUMBING?  Wow!!!

She always had a tin of fun-sized Snickers, or some bridge mix, or something sweet in the house, and I was allowed to snitch as much as I wanted.  She let me experiment in her kitchen.  She ate popcorn with milk, like cereal kind of, but only a few pieces of popcorn in the milk at a time - she didn't dump milk over the whole bowl of popcorn.  She liked Spam sandwiches and fried cornmeal mush with maple syrup.  She made awesome French toast.

Funny how many of my memories of her revolve around food!

She painted and wrote poetry.  She wore old fashioned shoes.  She had a wonderful attic full of treasures - old hats from the 20s and 30s that still had their feathers - and I was allowed to play dress up in them.  I wonder what happened to all those old hats.  She had hundreds of old black and white photos, and I would get them out and she'd tell me stories about the people in them.  We watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and WKRP in Cincinnati together.  If I said, "So..." she would reply, "Sew buttons on your underwear!" which I still don't get.  I still say "so" too often.

My sister and her husband live in that house, now, and Mom still lives next door.  I can feel her there, sometimes, but especially when Megan and I cook together in that little kitchen.

I'll tell you what, it's not the big stuff that kids remember.  It's not the trips to Disneyworld or the extravagant gifts.  It's the stories, the food, the Wheel of Fortune, the lazy afternoons poking around the attic's treasures.  That's the good stuff.

1 comment:

Rob Monroe said...

Love stories like this! I actually lived WITH my grandparents from the age of 11 - the experiences there will live with me forever.

Memories revolve around food for me, too. I can still remember where I ate dinner for my 16th birthday, and I'm not making that up! :)

Also, stories like this are the reason that Anny and I do not buy presents for Abby on her birthday or at Christmas and stuff. We know already that those are not the things that matter - we would rather have a great experience planning a fun day with just the three of us to celebrate - those are the things that last.