Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Lovely, But Deceased Grandmother Yelled at Me This Morning

I'm not kidding.  She really did.  Be prepared for a long, but I hope entertaining post. 

Just so you know, I hardly ever know what I'm going to write about when I first sit down at the computer.  I usually sit, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for quite a while before I start to type.  Sometimes, I have to walk away and come back, because inspiration just hasn't hit.

But this morning, as I was on my way downtown to drop off my husband's lunch to him (he didn't exactly forget it, but it's a long story), I somehow found my thoughts drifting to my Grandmother and the time right after her death (long story how I got there too).  So anyway, I started thinking about it, and then, out of nowhere, she's right there in my head.  And she's yelling at me.  In fact, she's quite, excuse me for saying it this way, but it's the truth, she's quite pissed about the fact that I haven't written any posts about her.  Can you believe that?  So OK GRANDMA HERE IT IS SO PLEASE STOP BUGGING ME.

My Grandmother was a hoot.  Two of my favorite early memories of her involve looking through all of her jewelry, which she had a ton of, and making pizzas with her.  Her jewelry was on top of a chest of drawers in the little teeny room where we used to sleep when we would go to Pennsylvania to see my Grandparents.  Most of it was fake, and looking back on it now, it was also pretty gaudy, but I just loved it.  The best part was my grandmother didn't have pierced ears, so I got to put on all the really cool huge beaded earrings. 

We also used to make pizza almost every time we would go up to see them.  She'd let us help with everything.  Mine always looked horrible, but I remember how much she'd exclaim over how tasty they looked.  And she was right.  They tasted great to me.  I guess that is why I let Joshua help make pizza with me now.  To carry her forward with me somehow.

In regards to the later years, I have several funny stories to relay to you.  First, I spoke with my mom to laugh about Grandma's yelling at me.  Her chatter in my head didn't stop all the way home.  She was so persistent and nagging.  The entire time.  I kept trying to explain to her that no, I couldn't pull over and write it right then, because you have to sit in front of the computer to write a blog post.  It was getting annoying.  So I called mom to tell her and we had a laugh about it.  I asked if she was always so persistent.  She said sometimes my Grandma could nag you without saying a word.  My mom would have them in our house and Grandma would sit there quietly, and then my mom said she'd get a cold chill up the back of her neck.  Then the guessing game would begin.  Is she hot?  Is she cold?  Does she want her purse?  Is she thirsty?  I don't think the chill would go away till mom finally figured out what the problem was.  Sometimes, all it was, was my grandmother wanted her purse to sit on the other side of the TV tray mom had set up with all her stuff on it.

All of the following are true stories.

My parents bought my grandparents a microwave one year.  Do you know what they used it for?  A bread box.  A really expensive bread box.

Grandma wasn't feeling good one morning, so my Grandpa drove her to the doctor.  He examined her and said, "Mrs. Winder, you need to go to the hospital.  You are having a heart attack right now."  So they are calling the rescue squad and the doctor asked her if she'd given up smoking.  Grandma looked at him and said, "Oh yes.  I've totally given it up.  I quit."  The doctor asked her when she had quit.  Grandma said, "About five minutes ago in the car on the way over."  But that was true.  She never smoked another one.

Then she's in the hospital and she sits there with her enormous purse perched on her lap the entire time.  I'm surprised she had any feeling left in her legs, because the thing weighed about 90 pounds.  She wouldn't let anybody take it.  I bet she went into surgery carrying that purse on her lap the whole way.  I wonder if it got in the surgeon's way when he was operating on her?  Because I bet they couldn't pry it out of her hands when they were ready to start.

She also had a temper. She'd get mad at my Grandpa. And so one day, my mom sees her put up her index finger behind my Grandpa's back as he was walking away after some sort of tiff. My mom asked her what she was doing. She thought that's how you gave someone the finger. I bet she still does that to him in heaven.

My Grandma started going senile.  So every time I would see her later in life, our conversation was exactly the same.  Seriously.  We only had one conversation.  She had an ugly, red cloisonne watch, that had a cover over the face.  Closed, it looked like a bracelet.  Then you'd open it to reveal the watch face. 

Here is our conversation:  G - Have I shown you my bracelet?

C - No, I don't think I've seen that (For the millionth time.  Today.)

G - Look.  (So I'd look.)

C - Oh, I like it.  It's very pretty. (Smiling serenely.)

G - And look at this. . .(she'd fumble with it, because she was shaky, but eventually, she'd get it open, and with zest in her voice, she'd say)  It's a watch!

C - (Utter fascination and mock surprise plastered all over my face, I'd say)  Oh my goodness!  It is a watch!

Wait five minutes.  Repeat.

After she died, I didn't think to ask for that watch.  I wish I had it.  Ugly as it was, it would be nice to have it.

Grandma also was hard of hearing.  That's not quite right, actually.  She was deaf.  So sometimes, I'd come home and I'd have a message on our answering machine that went something like this:

"Hi Carolyn and Jamey.  It's Grandma.  How are you?  (long pause)  Good.  (Another pause)  I'm doing OK.  Are you working hard?  (another pause)  I'm sure you are.  Can you come over to visit sometime soon? (pause)  OK, good.  (pause)  I love you too honey.  I'll talk to you soon. (pause)  OK.  I'm going to go now. (longer pause.  Maybe hoping our answering machine will tell her not to go yet?) OK.  Love you.  Bye bye."

She loved Jamey and his red hair. She kept telling me she didn't like redheads, except for Jamey and that she might have to steal him away from me.  Luckily, she moved back to Pennsylvania, because I don't doubt she might have been able to do it.

I was sad when Grandma died.  I was in Texas, and by this point, they'd moved back to Pennsylvania, after being in Virginia for like a year (or less) or something.  So the morning after she died, I was out on my back porch, and I asked for a sign from her.  You know, just to let me know she was OK.  And just then a small pretty bird flew by.  I said, "Oh thank you Grandma.  I'm so glad that was you."  Then a moment later, another one flew by.  "Thanks Grandma."  I smiled a little.  Then a whole flock flew by.  I almost got pelted by several of them.  "OK I GOT IT NOW."  I know she was smirking at me.

And she still will tell me hello from time to time.  And pester at me until I call my mom to tell her that Grandma says, "hi".  So as you may have guessed, I absolutely believe there is more to life than just what's here on this earth.

I am also sure she hand-picked Joshua to be our little boy.  And for that I can't thank her enough.

Hi Grandma.  I love you.  I know there's a bunch more stories, but people don't have three days to read one post. 

OK.  I think she's letting me off the hook now.  If you see a second Grandma post tomorrow though, you'll know why.  :)  Have a great day everyone!


  1. This was a great post Carolyn. I wish I had met your grandmother, but if she's anything like Weezie, then I know how special she was. This was really funny.


  2. Vintage post - Grandma would be pleased (I'm sure), so you'd think she'd get off your back for a while now...

  3. ps! New reader who has just added you to the scrolling blogroll @ Venom, Secrets, & Lies.
    Just fyi. ;-)

  4. Wowee! Thanks so very much! I appreciate it. Going to look at your blog now. . .


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