Sunday Family Stories - Happy Birthday Nana!

Some of you may recall that a story about my grandmother was the impetus for starting Sunday Family Stories... and I had every intention of getting this story written long before 4:30 in the afternoon of her birthday, but life took over and I found myself sleeping through significant parts of today after not sleeping much at all last night...

My grandmother can star in many stories of my childhood - we lived not to far from her house and I was lucky to be able to visit her weekly for some 'me' time to escape from my siblings... she had a fabulous house for exploring - her bedroom was filled with costume jewelry treasures and a huge mirrored closet full of fun and exciting clothes... the guest rooms held shelves of books collected from all over, cupboards full of interesting items.

Her living room was great fun - with a glass grape lamp hanging from a swag chain over a comfy chair, a huge floral sofa flanked by two end tables - that usually both held candy dishes full of yummy treats (my favorite was bridge mix - chocolate covered peanuts, raisins and other stuff) and inside them were photo albums... pictures from my parents wedding, the weddings of her other children, pictures from when my mom and sibs were growing up and of course the requisite albums of all her grandchildren... When I was younger, I didn't fully understand the value of all those pictures, preferring instead to climb up on the couch to peer at myself in the large mirror that hung over the soft and make faces at myself... But as I got older, they held more and more fascination for me and we could sit for hours in the big red chair, with the grape lamp overhead and go through who everyone was in the pictures...Then there was the kitchen, a huge eat in space - all decked out with cool accessories that we didn't have - like a bread drawer, a huge lazy susan cupboard and a real broom closet.  There was the cupboard filled with china tea cups and the one filled with pots and pans that nana didn't mind us pulling out to bang on with wooden spoons... the spoon collection that took up almost an entire wall, and a plate rail that held even more fascination ... my favorite thing was a jar that was labeled 'pickled bums' that had been a gag gift from her sister (I think)

Even more fun though, was the basement... where more treasures awaited - these treasures were toys from when my mom, aunts and uncle grew up in the house... there was the huge baby doll (who I swear was bigger than my sister until she was 4 - and probably weighed more than her til she was 6) who had seen better days, having lost her toes in some bizarre accident and was losing her hair... who sat in the full size carriage, waiting to be carried upstairs and outside for a walk down the street.  There were the barbie dolls with classic 1960's features and the matchbox cars from another era... puzzles, games and more!  There was also a bar with my grandfather's liquor collection, a fascinating clock with numbers made of dice, a shelf that held cards, poker chips and all manner of interesting things for gaming, and the ultimate thing for kids... a 'kid size' refrigerator that stocked soda pop... cause you know that mom and dad didn't keep pop in the house, so going to grandma's house meant having an icy cold sprite or wink!

As much as the house was a treasure, it was the outside of the house that sometimes fascinated me the most...  
in the front yard there was a huge silver maple tree that seemed to go on forever to the sky, and lily-of-the-valley in the rock garden... the backyard had all sorts of treasures, including a huge lilac bush, honeysuckle bush for attracting hummingbirds, bleeding hearts, lady slippers and lilies and lots of grass to run!

But more important than the house itself was the warm welcome that I got every time I went there... from the time I was a little one to when I was a tween and teenager who was fighting constantly with my mother and who would trudge over to my grandmother's house for tea when I couldn't make my mom see my point... I remember one evening - not why I was mad, just that I was, that I left the house at 9 that night, went to the payphone to tell my grandmother I was on my way and arrived to hot tea and a plate of cookies to drown my sorrow and then a comfy night's sleep in the lavender guest bed before I had to face the reality of whatever it was the next morning...

I loved growing up so close to my grandmother and being able to share so many memories with her... if you haven't read my other stories, I invite you to check out:

I'm a Tea Granny and the other stories that I have written about our relationship.

I wish I could be with you today as you celebrate your birthday, but I look forward to our next game of scrabble when we can be together...