I miss my Grandma. She was perfect, mostly because she acted like she thought I was, not noticing any bad behavior, knowing my mom would act on it. I was sure she loved me best of all her grandchildren, unaware she made us all feel that way. She made the best teacakes, told the best stories, and always smelled of Johnson’s Baby Powder. Patiently, she’d let me brush her waist-length gray hair, and attempt to twist into a heavy bun, never complaining that I pulled, before finally turning it into a perfect bun and securing it with only one heavy bone pin herself with a quick flip of her wrist, once I gave it up for hopeless.
Every afternoon after lunch and her “stories” Grandma hung her cotton print housedress on a line stretched across a corner of her bedroom, let her hair down, slipped off her shoes and knee-high stockings, put her gold-rimmed spectacles carefully on the bedside table, and lie down for her nap.
Though I hated naps at home, I’d rush to brush off my bare feet and join Grandma in her high double bed, with its immaculate sheets bringing the sun-shine indoors, even on gloomy days, knowing a story would be awaiting me. I’d lie on my side facing her, and listen as long as I could keep her talking. Invariably, she’d start to drift off mid-sentence as I lay waiting, thinking it was only a dramatic pause. Waking her with my questions, she’d continue till she could no longer stay awake, and I’d have to give up and nap or try to slip quietly off to play.
My favorites were about her girlhood in the Virginia, running free with her brothers, Clarence and Ed. Grandma said her mother shooed them outdoors in the morning, not wanting her messy, troublesome brood underfoot. With my mother always needing help in the house and with two baby sisters, that sounded wonderful to me.
Grandma, I wish you were here today to tell me a story, make me some teacakes, or just spend an afternoon catching up. I hope I am half the grandmother you were. I still think of you everyday.