Friday, October 25, 2019

ROBBLOG #806- Memories of Childhood

Have I written about my Gramma Reid before?

I am sure she has been mentioned, if not written about in detail. After all I can't remember all that I've
written in eight hundred blogs. In fact when I go way back and read what I posted years ago, it's like reading the writings of another person.

Anyhoo, my Gramma Reid.
My dad's Mum. Lillian.
She left this world on a cold January day in 1965. She actually froze to death because she fell from her back stoop while hanging out laundry.
My Grandmother hanging out laundry on a cold, clear end of January day.

The oil man topping up the tank found her in the snow and carried her inside. I was walking along the street from school minutes before intending to stop in and say hello but my Mum came rushing along just as I reached Gramma Reid's front sidewalk and urged me to go home.
Home was a block and a bit away.
As I walked along clutching my schoolbooks, my Dad came running up Poughkeepsie Street and barked further orders- "Go home and stay there, your sister and brother are there with Mrs. Dwinnell!"
She was a neighbour and lived next door.
I knew something was up.
I just didn't know what. I knew my Gramma had a ticky heart.
Maybe that was it.

Her husband my Dad's father and my Grandad- Norman, had died two days before Christmas in 1963.
That was tons of fun...
I remember that sad Christmas and the prevailing gloom.
My Gramma was so sad. My Dad was quiet and looked down at the floor a lot.
Fifty years Gramma and Grandad had been married now she'd be alone- without "Shorty" a nickname that was attached to him for most of his life.
Being alone happens to all of us- sooner or later.

My Gramma Reid taught me a lot.
Some things she taught me without saying a word.
I wish she were here this minute.
I have a couple of questions for her and I need her advice. I think she pokes me from the next plane of life from time to time. I hear her voice.
I am a lot like her.

Gramma Reid probably put the "Gay" in Gay for me- even before I knew it.
I wonder if she knew I was different?
I loved to go to her house on any holiday or special day.
Around Hallowe'en, I think of the times I'd walk into her dining room and she'd be there making up individual treat bags for all the kids. She'd have "special bags" set aside for "special" kids- like her grandchildren.
She'd have all these treats in bowls on the walnut dining room table and she'd carefully pick a treat from each bowl and tuck it in a little black and orange Hallowe'en bag with a witch or moon or ghost on the side.
All the time she'd spend doing that every year.
Beside her, on the big hutch with the mirror she'd have a Hallowe'en display. Pumpkins, a black cat or two and other spooky stuff. There was usually a centrepiece on the huge dining room table that sat a dozen or more of us at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I wonder where all those decorative items ended up? I didn't get any spooky figurine as a remembrance of her.

50th Wedding Anniversary. This is how I remember my Grandparents.
Christmas was the same.
I'd look in the dining room to see what special display she'd have on the hutch or on the table. It was Gramma Reid who started me collecting my first Nativity set. I still have several pieces that I remember buying at Woolworth's in downtown Orillia.
The price sticker is still on the bottom of the figurines.
It says:
"Woolworth. 29 cents. Hand-painted in Italy"
I chose one of the kings wearing a robin's egg blue robe and gold crown as well as a couple of shepherds. I don't remember what drew me to these specific figures.
Noticeably missing was the Holy Family but in the seventies I bought a stable and enough pieces to complete the entire set. I display it ever Christmas.
It reminds me of her.

She also bought me a Santa Claus figurine one Christmas.
It stands about 10 inches tall.
Santa has a fuzzy red coat, black plastic boots and belt and a fuzzy, white beard.
That was Christmas 1963 and I still have it in a display cabinet.
The one boot has part of a toe missing. Back in the 80's I sat it on the top of a metal fireplace for a minute while I decorated a tree nearby.
The boot's toe melted quickly.
I love that Santa and it started me collecting Santa's.
I have many and I still add one each year.
Don't get me started on who I am leaving all these memories to once I shuffle away from this mortal coil. I have no idea and some nights it keeps me awake thinking about it.
Lillian and Norman.
Other Holidays were well represented on my Gramma's Table and Hutch including St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, Easter and Thanksgiving.

I am sure that's the reason I do the same all year through. Our dining room hutch and table always reflect the season with bunnies, hearts, autumn leaves, pumpkins and more displayed.
In a way I am honouring my Gramma Reid's memory.
It keeps her close and I thank her for all she taught me whether she was aware of the lessons or not.

Even today a charcoal photograph of her- and her brother, looks down upon the dining room table from a ornate golden frame hung on the wall near our hutch.

It makes me feel warm and fuzzy...