Thursday, May 5, 2011

ROBBLOG # 261 W E E K E N D Edition

My grandmother taught me so much.

Not that she had to. It just happened naturally. I was like a sponge and soaked it all up. I loved my Grandma. She was a very classy lady. No matter where she was or what she was doing, she wore a shade of lipstick that was the colour of the raspberries like those she served for dessert, without the whipped cream, of course.

My Grandmother didn’t shove ideas into my head on purpose.In a way, it just happened. You see my parents tried to do their best with me but only Gram knew my true heart. So, I would live with her- even if it was just in my own mind.

She taught me for instance that Granddad should be seen and very rarely heard. He didn’t seem to mind that at all. He would sit in his big mission-style rocker in the glassed-in side porch and ruminate on life. Sometimes he would just sit sorting his fishing tackle. At other times he would read his newspapers with a favourite cup of tea on the table in front of him.

On sunny afternoons when her housework was done, Gram- with a tea towel slung over her left shoulder, would join Granddad on the porch. She’d ask what was new in the paper and he would tell her.

On my Grandparent's 50th Anniversary
In the Sunporch L-R Uncle Earl, Cousin Tom,
Me in Granddad's Rocker and Cousin Judy
Life was simple and Gram’s house was always warm and welcoming. I especially loved her dining room. In the centre of the room was a big mahogany dining table that would seat about 12 relatives- comfortably, both at Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the house’s two telephones also found a home in the dining room. The second phone was a wall model in the upstairs hallway. It was new and plastic not like the Bakelite model on the telephone table in the dining room. This heavy telephone found its place on a sturdy, dark-stained, telephone table- all the rage in the 50’s, that set tight up against the wall to the right as you came in the dining room door. Grandma would have long telephone conversations seated side-saddle on the little padded chair- which was attached to the table. Underneath was a convenient shelf where the Orillia Telephone book sat- all 46 pages of it- yellow pages included!

My Grandmother- Lillian and Grandfather-Norman, on their 50th
The room where I stayed-sometimes, was upstairs to the right. A stovepipe from the wood burning oven in the kitchen ran through it and continued right up through the roof. Needless to say, no other heat source was needed in the room- thankfully. It would have been much too warm if there had of been a heating vent. Most of the year, it was like a sauna. There was enough warmth from the stovepipe in the winter and just plain heat and humidity creeping in through thinly insulated walls during the long, hot summers.

Next to the bedroom was a small three piece bath with a white sink that reminded me of one hanging on the wall under the mirror at Rocco’s Barber Shop. The sink in Grandma’s bathroom- although attached to the wall too, was also supported by two chrome pipes that ran to the floor supporting the front corners of the sink. I didn’t have far to go if nature called during the wee morning hours.

Lunch at the kitchen table was always a sandwich on brown bread with pickles and for dessert- a bowl of fruit. A glass of milk always accompanied lunch. I would take my time chewing the sandwich as many times as I could before I swallowed. Grandma was a student of the school of “chewing each piece of food 40 times”. At family meals it took forever to get through the main course. Grandma would take a forkful of food, rest her fork on her plate and chew and chew and chew. If the sit down meal began at 5:30, dessert was served at 7:30 or 8 o’clock.
It took forever for Gram to masticate.
Often dessert- and tea or coffee for the grown-ups, was served in the living room or maybe even the side porch. It would be a more casual affair than the actual main course around the mahogany table in the dining room.

I am sure I learned my penchant for nice things and long, sit down meals from my Grandmother.

She passed back in January 1965.
I miss her still.