Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Magic

I first posted this about 2 years ago so I think very few of you have read it. It's one of my favorite pieces so I'm going to rerun it today. I may use it to start a series of posts on family members.

I am the oldest of the great-grandchildren and my memories of Grammy are markedly different from the generation before me. By the time I came along, Grammy was a widow and no longer lived in the farmhouse that was the family homestead. It had become too much for her to tend to and so she sold the land to her church, which wanted to erect a new building. My grandparents converted their second floor into an apartment for her and the farmhouse was razed to make way for the church. The older generations all have fond memories of the farmhouse. I have only seen pictures.

My memories of her dwellings are of a tiny second floor apartment above my grandparents' house. I grew up only a mile away from my grandparents and spent a lot of time visiting them. A visit to Nana and Grampop’s was never complete without a trip upstairs. After card games with Nana or a number of songs on Grampop’s guitar (Bella) I’d start to get the itch. The magic would pull me. Nana could see it in my eyes before I ever said a word, "Go on, climb the wooden hill to Grammy’s."

I’d wander out to the hallway, stare up the steep flight and run my hand along the old banister as my little legs climbed each step, my expectation rising as I ascended. Many times a delicious smell or the sounds of some old music I didn’t recognize would draw me along. The magic started to swirl.

I’d reach the top and see her bathroom with all sorts of fancy atomizers, powder puffs, or other frilly things to hide what she deemed unmentionable. To the right I’d see her open door, the portal to a wonderland. Since the apartment had been designed for her it was built to accommodate her short stature. When she welcomed me in I’d marvel at how I could reach everything. It was magic! She’d draw me into the kind of hug only a "pleasingly plump" (one of her favorite phrases) farmwoman can give. My little arms would stretch around her sides and my fingers would trail up the stays in her corset. No one else I knew wore corsets. Surely this was more magic.

She’d settle me in at her kitchen table and give me a snack. I got milk out of a jelly jar or on occasion she’d give me some delicate china cup…more magic. The treats were always something home-baked. They were delectables no one else in the family could duplicate, because she was magic.

Once my little belly was sated the stories began. With a magic twinkle in her eyes she’d tell me of one-room schoolhouses, arsonist farmhands, horses and buggies, the great-grandfather I never knew, my grandfather’s misbehavior as a child. She could recite her school lessons from her earliest years. I had my favorite stories and poems and asked for them over and over. She could hold me spellbound all afternoon with her stories. Sometimes she’d bring out some enchanting prop to go with a story. There might be a fancy Victorian beaded purse or feather fan, crackled sepia photos with faintly recognizable faces, or a baby doll older than my grandparents. Every bit held its own magic and the magic grew when she trusted my clumsy little fingers with the treasures.

The day came when she could no longer climb the stairs to her apartment so she moved in with my aunt. She had lost most of her eyesight and her pleasingly plump frame had withered. She still managed to turn out delicious baked goods and her mind remained sharp as ever. Surely the magic was still there. Then she had a stroke from which she never recovered. During her last weeks in the hospital she drifted in and out of consciousness and was only able to make unintelligible sounds. My mother told me when I was grown, however, during what she knew would be her last visit to the hospital she had spent time at Grammy’s bedside, told her, "I love you" and lingered a few moments before leaving. As my mother reached the door, the surprise of a faint reply came, "Love…you…too." One last bit of magic.


28 comments:

Mona said...

awww.. this is indeed magical!
Those are such wonderful memories of a wonderful person!

Cherish the love!

EmBee said...

Lovely story with which I can relate... You see, my own Grandmother raised me from the ages 3-7 and she too made the world a magical place for me. Here's to loving, magical GRAND-Mothers... May their memories live on forever.

furiousBall said...

that's sweet, I miss both of my grandmas

G-Man said...

...And that magic was passed on to you Trini!!!
xox

Bunny said...

I never knew my great-grandmothers and my children will never know any of their great-grandparents. This is a wonderful tribute to your great-grandmother. I'm sure she is incredibly proud of you.

S said...

What a sweet lady she was, and what great memories.

Jeni said...

What a beautiful post! I never knew my father or his parents but grew up with my Mom's parents. My older daughter knew my Mom but my two younger kids barely knew her and the youngest has no memories of her whatsoever. My grandchildren have two grandfathers, one grandmother and a great-grandmother but she lives in South Dakota so has never met the grandkids of mine and her son -my ex. She's a gem and I do wish my grandkids could get to know her for the sweet little lady she is -yes, you're so right when you term them as being "magic."

barman said...

What a magical story and let me say, I kept telling myself as I read that that magic, the story telling magic especially, had been passed on to you.

NYD said...

It's good to know from whence you come.
The footfalls of our ancestors echo in the actions of their progeny.

Every now and then I like to sit back and let the years recede so I can remember the stories I heard when I was a kid.

lecram said...

Yeah, I remember this. :) Glad you reran it.

mssolitaire said...

I love this! :) And the pic to go with it is rockin!

How wonderful it is to have those loving guides early on in life, and I agree with g-man... she passed the magic on to you! :)

San said...

Lime, I believe in the kind of magic you've described, particularly that last hospital room incident.

And pot-licking, that's always magic! You were a beautiful kid. And your grandmother looks just as I'd imagine her to look.

Kathryn said...

That really touched my heart. I can barely see through my tears. Gorgeous. What a gift.

And thank you for all your supportive and kind comments. I really do appreciate it. :)

BTExpress said...

What a great story. Are you printing your stories out and saving them for your kids? The memories are priceless and one day they will treasure them.

Keyser Soze said...

Very touching Limey. Great post.

Breazy said...

I remember the first time you posted this and I enjoyed just as much this time.

Thanks for sharing again Lime, it took my back to my childhood when I would spend time with my Mamaw.

Have a good day and thanks for your prayers for my son.

Pauline said...

Wonderful memories, grandmas are the best!

M said...

i think our grandparent's generation had cool stuff in the bathroom like the atomizer and the powder puff which you mention...i remember my grandma's powder puff...uh, wait that sounds slightly weird...i remember a large round makeup container with a pink puff and lots of powder that escaped when you opened or closed the box.

i also remember cold cream containers which seemed like smooth procelain, glass avon perfume bottles which seemed like Waterford crystal. and only my grandma had such things...good memories!

Moosekahl said...

First off, does it mean I'm old if I remember this post?

Second of all...I love Grammy posts. I am desperately missing my every other, if not every day phone calls to my own Grandma. Even though she was moved to the midwest she never lost her east coast edge (or learned how to correctly say "r") and she always listened and always reasoned with me on things that were hard. Things are hard and I don't have her physically on the other end of the phone. I love her dearly even in her absence and I think she "knew" at the end too and gave me that last good bye and I'm proud of you when she had the chance.

cathy said...

Thankyou for reminding me...

... apple pies, brass candlesticks and the button box.

SignGurl said...

*wipes away tears* This is so precious. I think your picture is magic as well.

KFarmer said...

That was so moving~ it moved me to tears. It's all good though; they needed a cleansing~ Thanks dove :)

Suldog said...

Just truly lovely, Lime. It's good to remember all of the magic we encounter on a daily basis :-)

Theresa said...

That was a beautiful story. I used to love visiting my grandma too, but we only got to go to Holland every 3 to 4 years, so I didn't get to see her very often. How lucky you were to have such a special relationship. :)

John-Michael said...

If your "stats" show me on here for an exceedingly long time ...it's because I diverted my attentions (after reading this wonderful work of loving recollection) to adding you to the side-bar of my blog. For I could not accept the thought that even one of the knd folks visiting my blog would miss out on being introduced to the treat of your skills of expression ... or Your Heart!

(There is a song screaming to be born in "Go on, climb the wooden hill to Grammy’s." I have had the first verse going 'round in my head since reading the words ... REALLY!)

You have enchanted my Spirit and stolen my heart. I love You!

Hilary said...

That was a lovely tribute to your Grandmother. How wonderful to have such magical memories.

David sent me.

quilldancer said...

You have shared this treasured memory beautifully. IT seems you have a touch of magic yourself.

Sandi McBride said...

What a beautiful post for a magical person who surely lives in your heart of hearts...David sent me, I enjoyed the journey
Sandi