Have you ever sat looking at a white screen, wondering if your brain had suddenly become smooth, since every thought slid off it? Teachers taught us in school that the brain holds information in the wrinkles--or something along those lines. Don't test me against the wisdom of a fifth grader. They study the information I'm trying to remember with every lesson.
The usual subject for Getting it Write covers the history of the first century AD, often inspiring lessons learned from the family of Lazarus and his friends.
Today, I'm recalling memories from a newer decade--the 50s.
My grandparents bought a two-story white house for $3,000. And sixty acres that included two large yards. They didn’t heat the upper story in the winter. Heating bills shocked them, so the upstairs stayed cold. When the grandchildren visited (me, my brother, and sister) we slept in an upstairs bedroom, pinned to the bed with blankets. We couldn’t move so we felt safe. Also warm. Although one night I escaped and fell down a long flight of stairs. Soft and resilient I bawled as though she beat me with an oak tree. Then I forgot it happened. Grandma suffered for years though.
Cashmere Bouquet soap scented the bathrooms--the first perfumed soap. I still love scented soaps and cleaners. My grandma had class.
When I think of a nice home, theirs comes to mind. My sister copied the double doors curtained with lace to separate her bedroom from the living room. When my grandparents died, my brother kept the woodpecker knocker he made that warned bathroom users that someone stood outside.
Grandma threw nothing away. She had knickknacks that looked new, but if you studied them, you saw the cracked lines that ran through them. She glued the puzzle of them back together when they broke.
Grandma maintained her home despite a killer back brace. My family has lots of good housekeepers, but no one ever kept a house cleaner than hers, even with the brace.
In the winter, she taught elementary school. She knew the name of every tree and bird, never speaking of trees and birds. She spoke of elms and Cardinals.
When she went to college, she didn’t get the credits she needed, so every summer she enrolled at the University of Kansas. The school board added new credit requirements yearly. Probably she would have retired later except for that trudge across the campus. She missed her students--but the closets of lace hanky sets reminded her of them. No one has a nose that runny. The hanky business thrived because of teacher gifts.
She didn’t miss her summers trudging across campus, loaded with books. Buildings don't sit near parking at KU. And, a back brace and a few years, takes the fun from running across campus. The school allows between ten and fifteen minutes. She hated being late.
She excelled in cooking, using the handful and pinch method. My mother never understood why Grandma's recipes tasted different when she made them. But then, she had different size hands and pinches.
Grandma washed with a wringer washer. She pulled the wet clothes through two rollers. Forget wash and wear, She ironed every piece. She set aside a day a week to stand over that hot iron heated on the stove. Also, the wash included sheets and curtains. Ahhh, "the good ole days" I'll take the modern washer any day.
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Patricia Annalee Kirk