‘And the winner is…’
Last weekend I had the pleasure of greeting a new grandchild. No, this was not my new grandchild (fingers — and toes — are firmly crossed hoping for that Blessed Event) but a very fine grandchild indeed. I mean, just look at this baby.
No, the latest winners of the Grandparent Lottery happen to be Dude Man’s cousin and his wife. They had us over last weekend to meet little Elouise. There was eating and drinking and laughing plus funny-face-making, high-pitched cooing and, of course, much cuddling. I swear that baby got passed around more than the wine bottle(s).
I say “latest winners” because little Zachs and Esmes and Orens and Sophias and Madeleines and Francescos seem to be popping out everywhere like flowers after the rain. And, since I knit baby sweaters for the progeny of people I am related to and/or like a lot, my fingers have been getting a workout. (Which, of course, makes it harder to keep them wishfully crossed.)
But enough about teensy knitwear. All these new grandchildren got me thinking about my own grandmothers. How wonderful they were, but how different.
One was wiry and skinny, wore slacks, worked in a factory and — most fascinating to us kids — dyed her hair. Why was this fascinating? Well, we kids didn’t know from hair dye. We just knew that Gramma Henry’s hair was a different color every time we saw her: sometimes brown, sometimes reddish, sometimes almost black. (We kids also didn’t know about false teeth. There was a scary lady in my home town who used to push her partial plate out at us to keep us out of her yard.)
My other gramma — my mom’s mom — was kinda plump, always wore a housedress, worked on a farm and most certainly didn’t dye her hair. She even wore an apron. Pretty much all the time.
Incidentally, my mom’s mother was known as “Gramma,” while my dad’s mom was called “Gramma Henry.” True, we saw my Peterson gramma more often than the Henry one, and my mom and I even lived with her while my dad was off serving in Korea. But, still, I bet that stung.
(Back then, no grandmothers — at least no grandmothers that I knew — were called anything but “Gramma.” Well, maybe “Grandmother,” but that was only in books. I certainly hadn’t heard any parent of a parent referred to as “Nana” or “Gigi” or “MomMom” or even “G-Ma.” Yes, I wrote a piece about this.
Yes, they were different. One played poker and one played Scrabble. One drank plum wine, and the other something she called “silver tea,” which was a cup of hot water.
But both of them deserve a Grammy Award for being so wonderful. Thanks for jogging some fine memories, Miss Elouise.
New York City. May 2023