...and I am very happy there.

...and I am very happy there.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Memories of Grandmother...

A few months ago, my cousin sent me this photo of my Grandmother in her kitchen.
Grandma Anna Muller

What memories it stirred. The photo depicts her the way I always remembered her. In her kitchen, apron on, ready to go. I think I only saw her sit for meals and once in her living room for about ten minutes. She didn't sit back and relax, but somewhat on the edge of her seat, ready to jump up in a moment's notice to get you something or stir something on the stove.

We tried to go to Grandma's at least once a month when I was growing up. The drive was over two hours from our home in the country. Rick and I amused ourselves in the back seat or slept.

Someone had drilled into our heads how dangerous it was where Grandma lived so we were never allowed outside alone. But one day, I went out on the front stoop and just stood half in and a half out. As I gazed up and down the street of similar stoops I was amazed that I was in the middle of the city and no one was around! Then one door opened a few houses down across the street and a little boy about my age came out. He did the exact same thing I did. As he stood in his doorway, half in and half out, he caught my eye as he gazed down the street on my side. Our gaze held for a minute and as if by some hidden cue, we both stepped back inside and shut the doors! My heart was beating fast. Were we really in danger out there? Why was no one else out there? How was it that at just the precise moment I decided to step outside he did too? Very intriguing for a little kid.

Grandma Muller was of tough German stock who raised seven children (five boys!) and lived into her 90's. Her home was always clean and neat. Never anything out of place. She had two items for us to play with: Lincoln logs and little plastic musical bells. I loved playing with those two toys!

Her home was quiet for being in the middle of Woodhaven, NY (the city). One fascinating place that I found in her home was her bathroom with its skylight and octagonal black and white floor tiles. I am not sure why that held such a fascination for me, but I loved to go up there and stare at the tiles and try to make designs out of them or check out the skylight at different times of the day to see what it would reveal.

The other room that intrigued me was Grandma's bedroom. The door was always shut and we were told, "That's Grandma's room" and though I don't remember being told not to go in there, I remember the feeling that it was off limits. This only made it hold more mystery than my little mind could endure. So only once did I take a chance to creep down the hall to her room. I stood in the doorway and scanned the room. I was awed at the how beautiful it was. Peaceful and neat, very neat. Her room faced out front on the street and spanned the whole width of the house. Her window was open and a gust of wind, blew the curtain sheers into the room. It gave the room an almost ghostlike appearance.  I tried to think my Grandmother in there through the years. When I spotted her silver hair brush, I could picture her sitting at her vanity, brushing her hair as a young woman and then as the matriarch of our family. Grandma's hair was never down, so I could only imagine what long tresses were hidden under her combs and hair pins.

The memories of my grandmother are comforting in a nostalgic way. Her home was a place of peace and quiet. A place of delicious scents from the kitchen and family dinners around her dining room table. A place of mysterious rooms and scary basements. A place of hidden dollar bills that she magically produced to give to us almost every visit.

While I usually dreaded the trip, I never lost the sense of family time and joy my father felt at going "home". She may not have been the cookie baking, story reading Grandma of my dreams but she was my Grand Ma in her own special way.

My cousin included the following notes with the photo:

My own apron when I remember to use it.
Remember Grandma and her aprons?
Remember making an apron in Home Ec?

The History of 'APRONS':

I don't think our kids know what an apron is.

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few.  It was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material but, along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.

It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears.

From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.

When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.

And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.

Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow bent over the hot wood stove.

Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.

From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.

After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.

In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees.

When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.

When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.

It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.

AND --

Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.

Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to thaw.

They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron.

I don't think I ever caught anything from an apron but LOVE.