As a child, I was told my grandmother had thin hair because as a young girl, she teased it so much to look thick, high and fluffy that some of it fell out. Maybe so. I decided not to make the same mistake, but my hair is thinning anyhow. Grandma didn’t live past 65, which makes me wonder if she might have looked into wigs eventually. I’m on the verge…
Born in 1878 my maternal grandmother lived a hard life. I wouldn’t have been able to replicate it at any age. Mine has gone much smoother for many reasons. That’s why I’m mildly obsessed with my current age whenever I look in the mirror, or perish the thought, see candid photos being taken with those ever- present smart phones. I’ve got the neck, hair line, partial figure and her sense of fashion. Unlike some of my friends, I don’t do plastic surgery. I might look better.
Some of my most vivid memories of Grandma are remembering her in the front yard or serving food at her dining room table. The massive round oak table took up half the room which also housed a sofa and wood stove. Sometimes when I think about her, I picture her sitting outdoors on her metal lawn chair, covered in poison ivy and doused with pink calamine lotion. That day so long ago, she was puffy and feeling miserable as she waited for the day to end. Maybe blessed sleep would follow. In my mind’s eye, I otherwise see her in the kitchen getting ready to feed the crowd.
I couldn’t possible put on the dinners she did. Her kitchen sink was a sink, but the water which was hand-pumped into it didn’t come out hot. It was the only inside plumbing in her little house. I don’t think there was much counter space if any, and I don’t recall her having a fridge or icebox.
Nevertheless, she cooked voluminous amounts of food — perhaps because fresh food was at hand, perhaps because she had raised a large family who in turn brought their progeny to dine or perhaps because she cooked for restaurants where considerable amounts of food would have been prepared daily. Of course, everything she made was from scratch — including the chickens who were murdered just outside the back door near the grape arbor. Vegetables came from her garden, and noodles from her hands. Although I have the recipe, my scratch noodles never looked or tasted like hers.
People of her generation didn’t have the luxury of shopping on line or in great malls for the masses. Women made their clothes (and everyone else’s). Their attire came first from flowered flour sacks and then from fabric purchased in dry goods stores. Grandma and her sisters all could sew. She wore housedresses (all the time) with fabric covered in small print flowers, always with buttons up the front (zippers probably cost more) and always topped with a bib apron (often made of muslin-colored flour sacks as opposed to flowered ones).
For some god-awful reason, my last few purchased blouses have been made of flowered fabric. Is this a “senior” thing? Mind you, these flowers were not the trendy vibrant Hawaian flowered fabric, but itsy-bitsy pastel forget-me-not type flowers. I started to realize what was happening, so I purchased a blouse at a big sale (cost $7.99) smothered in sequins. I still looked like Grandma but Grandma with bling.