I have more recent pictures of my Granny, but unfortunately had not gotten them on my computer before it decided not to "see" the scanner. In this photo she's with my mother, who was about 8 years old, so Granny was about 33. Photo was taken around 1935.
I was not blessed with a granny right around the corner, in the next county or even in the next state. My granny lived in England and came to visit every five years or so. When she came, she stayed for months and we loved every minute with her. She was such a perfect lady, such a perfect...granny. Sensible shoes, gray hair pulled back, glasses, sweet smile, soft hands, good-smelling hankies in her pockets, soft English accent and the ability to produce tea at any time of the day. She wrote long letters on thin blue airmail paper that made reading difficult and sent lvoely hankies and manicure kits at Christmas. Sometimes she called on the phone and there was always great excitement in the house then.
Although my memories of my grandmother are usually of trying to keep out of her way, I remember her infectious laugh very well. And this photo makes me wonder if there were sides to Grandma I didn't get to know.
My grandmother was of German/Prussian heritage. She lived in a nearby town when I was very little, but by the time I was 5 or 6 she and Grandpa had moved to Louisiana and later to Texas. They made long road trips to Canada, the Southwest, Northwest, all kinds of places. They stopped by to visit every 6 months or so, staying for a few days. I was scared of Grandma--she had a deep voice, a stern way with us children and thought our mother let us run amuck (She did, thank goodness. That's why so many of us are creative people). We liked it when these grandparents came because they brought slides to show of all the places they'd been. Grandma made tied quilts for us, and dresses of always the same pattern. She sent us $1.00 in dimes that stuck into little slots on our birthday cards. Still, I was aware of her disapproval of our mother and of our family in general and that still colors my memories of her. That is a whole different story, however, and one I may tell here one day.
Neither grandmother was what I'd call accessible. They were just too far away. I have no memories of sitting in their kitchens making cookies with them, or working in their gardens or hearing stories of when they were young. I don't remember them being there to listen to my sorrows or to watch proudly when I was in a school program or won an award. They just weren't part of my life in that way.
So I love to hear Larry's stories about his grannies. About visiting them, helping them with chores, hearing ghost stories from them or about how they'd kept their grown sons in line (with a coal shovel, I think it was). They were part of his every day, just down the road, a place to go whenever home got too difficult or just boring.
For my grandchildren I try to be the kind of granny I think I would have liked. I am sorry to have to be a working granny with a job that seems to get in the way quite a lot. But when the grandkids are here, we cook. We talk. They visit the chickens and walk up the hill to get my mail. We tell stories and sing songs. We watch the stars and the dogs. We build fires and watch those too. We go Mothman hunting and ride ferryboats and go to the Downtowner for breakfast. I hope they carry these memories with them and remember being at my house with the kind of comfort with which Larry remembers his granny's homes.
Which got me to wondering. What is it you remember most about your granny or grandmother's house? When you start a sentence with the words "At my granny's house" how would you most likely finish it? Leave a comment and tell us about what it meant, or still means, to you to visit your granny.