Thursday, September 25, 2008

I miss - Writing Workshop

Today I am participating in Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. Drop by & see if you'd like to participate, or just run around & see what others have written. This should be fun! Keep in mind, I didn't exactly follow the directions...I'm bad like that.

I miss my grandparents. Both of them were gone before any of my kids were born. They were the quintessential grandparents. Absolutely!

I know I have a much different view than my mom does because they were her parents.

We lived a few states away, but when we were young, we used to fly or drive out (with my parents & they'd drop us off) to Chicago to stay with them & my other grandma.

When we were too young to do this, everytime we'd visit Chicago, my grandpa would pull out a roll of 2 dollar bills from one of his overcoats in the closet. He'd give us each one & we'd run to the corner store to spend it on penny candy. We'd do this even though my grandma always had the cabinets stocked with miniature candy bars & tins of cookies. I remember how big his smile would be as he handed us the bills. His anticipation of the joy he knew he was bringing us with that simple, sweet gesture.

My grandma & grandpa lived in a two flat. My Aunt & my four boy cousins lived upstairs (yay for me! - not) and my grandparents lived downstairs. This house was the same one my mom & aunts spent most of their lives growing up in. It had the smell of a million home cooked meals permeated in the walls. The smell was heaven to me.

I used to love watching my grandma do her crossword puzzles & sit in the kitchen in the mornings to listen to my grandparents loving banter back & forth. They were a delightful & still very much in love couple.

Grandpa used to make us milky, sweet coffee in tupperware cups. I usually got the pink one. And every year, he'd show J the horses to run in the Kentucky Derby & they'd talk about odds then pick their horses.

He always talked to us about serious things. Those were lectures I could always tolerate & they were the only ones I honestly listened intently to. He seemed so wise and more than that - he was really the only man I have ever known with a truly pure heart. His kindness to others was endless. He gave everything he had to those he loved & more.

Two years before my grandma died and one after my grandpa did, we spent our last summer in Chicago. That was an incredible summer. It was also the summer my brother J and my cousin drove my grandma nuts - almost literally.

This particular summer (Grandpa had passed the January before), J and E decided dubbing was the thing to do on E's big boom box. The neighbor boys & the cousins & the cousins' friends would throw down the cardboard & break dance - seriously.

J & E also took to the sounds of grandma's frustrations & her barking, neurotic beagle. The dubbed her yelling at them & yelling at the dog. They dubbed themselves mocking her yelling at them & the dog. "M-ma-m-ma Mandy!!" (Mandy was the crazy dog)

This was also the summer of "Ed". J would find something he thought funny & use it/say it all the time. It happened to be "Ed" this summer. I can't remember why it was "Ed", but it was. Grandma would mock "Ed, Ed, Ed" in a semi masculine voice because she was tired of hearing it & they would dub it. I don't think I've ever seen her so pissed nor did I ever see them laugh so hard.

I did laugh some, because at 13 - that is funny stuff! At the same time I did feel bad for her & even mentioned to J that he should stop because it was making grandma so mad. The worst of this stuff really only lasted a day - but it would surface often during the rest summer. "Ed" lasted much longer & drove us all nuts.

Before we were to head home for school, my grandma made me one of her old recipes. One I didn't ever remember having. I didn't even remember it being mentioned. It consisted of ground beef browned with sauteed onions rolled into a crepe & served with a yummy sour cream sauce. I asked her what it was after my belly was full & my palette was tingling with the deliciousness. She told me it was her Lugan Ravioli.

When I recounted this story as an adult, in the presence of my Auntie Anne & my mom - I guess it stirred something up. I found out later from my mom that the last time my grandma served that meal was the night my cousin Dineen died. She was my aunt's second child and her only daughter (we'd find out after she had 3 more boys). She died as a result of SIDS. It had been more than 15 years since my grandma had made her Lugan Ravioli and she made it for me. Only me, too because no one else was there but the 2 of us. I cried when I really thought about that. I must have been something really special to her.


I miss my cousin Frank. I miss him because as many problems that he may have had, he had my grandpa's heart, almost.

He was fun to be around & great to talk to. He was the only one of my cousins (who lived nearby) that took the time to visit me & I would do the same with him.

I have stuff from old board games we'd play when we got together, our 2 families. Old notebook with his writing in them, score keeping or Boggle word lists. Paper cards from Balderdash with definitions written by him on them. When I see them, I miss him terribly. That's all I have besides the image of him in my mind constantly smiling.

Our kids liked to hang out together. His wife & I became good friends.

He died in a car accident May 30th 2000. He would have turned 35 on June 30th, 2000. His kids were so little when they lost their dad & I still remain close to the family. For a little while I got lost, but being around them reminds me of him. Especially his oldest - Frank the III. He has his dad's humor and fun loving side.

I miss his company. I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. Occasionally, he visits me in dreams. Usually, after it's been too long since I've spent time with his family. I wouldn't mind seeing him in my dream tonight.


Tiaras and Tantrums said...

lovely post!

Mamahut said...

That is the sweetest thing I have read all day. Does it make you feel really strong to know you come from a long line of good people? There are so many wierdo's in my family tree it's starting to look like one of those monkey trees.

Diane said...

What a beautiful post! I love it when I can smile and cry in the same reading :)

And thank you for the really lovely comment you left on my blog. It was very much appreciated!

Take care!

O'Neal (The woman in charge around here) said...

Awww, how sweet for you to have those memories to hold onto. We all have those tidbits that help make us who we are today. Keep them alive, and pass them down to your kids so they may add them to their own bank ;).

Melissa said...

Wow! That's beautiful! This is a great post. Sounds like your grandparents were pretty wonderful too. Thanks for stopping by to read my post!

Mama's Losin' It said...

You did not follow the rules, but I still loved it. You have the best memories...sometimes holding on to them is the best we can do. You captured them well here.

And I LOVE those dreams when I get special visits from my Dad or step-Dad. They're the best!


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