My Grammie Gram turns 99 !
Grandma used Jergens Cherry Almond lotion every day and a soft powder from the multicolored circular box that carried the soft scent of elegance, grace a beauty when worn by her. She always put a pinch of blush on her cheeks and ruby red lipstick, just enough to give a burst of color, but never overpowering, matching her vivacious and poised personality. She would carefully choose a crisp outfit each morning, to play golf or run errands through her beloved town, topping everything off with her soft Selby shoes that would gently tap on the linoleum floors as she heated the water up for her Sanka and a poached egg on toast…..She also gently closed the kitchen door every morning….so as to not wake her sleeping teenage granddaughter.
I spent my summers and college years at my Grandmother’s house in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains with my beloved Grandmother. They were some of the happiest , warmest , greatest memories in my entire life. I often think about them and they always bring me a sense of calm and peace. Tryon is a beautiful place, and the house my Grandpa built for her was a castle of refuge for me. The grounds were sprinkled with azaleas that bloomed in the spring and the scent of English boxwoods permeated the outside air. Even with all this beauty, it was truly was the essence of my Grandmother’s presence that echoed through every aspect of that house, inside and out. Every fall when I would go back to school, I would breath in the scent of my clothes because the house had this magical scent that would instantly calm me and help me get ready for each year . Grandma scent. I wish I could make a candle to capture all the memories it held for me.
Let’s talk about the memories. I have so many fond memories of time with my Grandmother. As a young child, my Grandmother helped teach me how to swim. She read me books and made sure I had a snack on the lower ledge of her countertop every day. Every night, she would gently tap my back and say “Baby baby babydoll, night night baby baby” until I fell asleep. She made the most delicious cinnamon toast every morning, with grits, or cream of wheat, eggs or whatever we wanted. After swimming until our lips turned blue, our fingers shriveled like raisins and our eyes beat red from trying to see underwater, Grandma would open the window and call us in for lunch. She would make the most delicious hot dogs, perfectly cut down the middle with American cheese delicately melted in the middle. To this day I can’t recreate the hot dog magic my Grandmother made for us at lunchtime. It just never comes out quite right!
When I stayed with my Grandmother as a teenager and into my college years, we would watch the Young and the Restless in the afternoons. I started college each fall, but we would watch re-runs of 90210 in the summer and then she would actually watch the new season in the fall and try to catch me up when I came to visit her. In FACT, my grandmother left me the most delighted messages on my answering machine at college that let me know Brenda and Dillon broke up or that Kelly was dating Dillon … I still chuckle out loud when I think of this.
Grandma was a fiery red head in every sense of the word. She played golf four to five times a week in the 90 degree heat and 80% humidity, came home “dripping with sweat” , she would say. ..and then she would drink two or three glasses of water and say.. “Oh my.. if I drink any more , I will float away”. She was an avid golf fan and of course, would never miss an episode of Lawrence Welk. She held bridge games and would fill me in on who got testy with who because their hearing aid starting ringing out of control or who was screaming too loud because they forgot to turn the “darn thing on”.
And as a Grandmother , the true matriarch of the family, her fiery personality came in handy with the young grandkids. After we asked her for “one more cookie” for the fiftieth time or “can we please go back to the pool for the 19th time that day, or “can we please turn the living room into a six million dollar man setting and catapult off the living room furniture and crash into all the lamps…”…she would eventually stamp her Selby shoe heels and say… “that’s enough, no more, I said no, and I’m not going to say it again”. And we didn’t ask again.
My grandmother is one of a kind, a true gem and beauty inside and out. She always tried to see the good in everyone and took an active role in raising me to become the woman I am today. I learned so much from her humility, her grace, her wisdom and love for her family. She really had an amazing sense of humor and willingness to bond with her grandchildren. We would trade Danielle Steele novels in the summer and count the number of times that “tears streamed down the protagonist’s face.” We sat out by the pool together, watched the Today show, talked about school, boys, Princess Diana, current Presidents, national issues, golf icons or just admired the beauty of the mountains around her house. And to this very day, as a 38 year old woman, mother of two, If I yawn..My grandmother will say “I think someone is ready for B-E-D”, spelling the word bed..as though I’m still her youngest grandbaby. She is such a special person and I love her so very much