Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grandma Esther

Last weekend was the debut of the Prairie Sisters Vintage Party and everyone who went reported that it was a smashing good time.   I’m guessing that it was the memories of the simplicity of our past and of all our charming Grandmas that helped inspire such a sweet event.  
Also, last weekend my Grandma Esther passed over at the age of 95.  
As is our family tradition, tomorrow we will plant a tree and we will memorialize Grandma Esther.  
I will remember her for her strength and her drive and her resourcefulness.  For being stylish with fashionable hats beyond her time.   For being smart and determined and for leading the way as a business woman when she was handed the responsibility of a day care in the mid 40’s.  
I will remember the spritz - spritz - spritz of her perfume bottle and suddenly, the whole room was engulfed with the smell of a powdery rose garden as she sat at her vanity applying the finishing touches in her morning ritual.   Her light blue hair was perfect (well kind of), and now we were off to the garage sales, thrift stores and the Five and Dime. A typical Saturday morning in Lincoln, Nebraska with Grandma.
I will remember her fondness for ice cream, her care taking of birds and her indulgence in afternoon beauty baths.  A fresh day dress, the evening paper on the porch swing and always time for neighbors.  For decorating her oak tree with seasonal plastic ornaments back when plastic was novel. And oh yes, the candy dish was always full.   For keeping a tidy house and raising respectful children.  For drinking grandpa’s home-made beer and letting him use her washing machine to make it.   For  agreeing with me that passing second grade math and learning my multiplication tables was the hardest thing I would ever have to do and for inspiring me to use those second grade math skills to start my own consignment furniture shop.    
As my mother wrote in her anthology of Apple Street Stories regarding Grandma’s day care when a stranger entrusted her with his child for a month .... 
"On a humid April day the bearish looking stranger came back. 
Mother pushed the door open wide this time.
"Come in."
A crowd of mild mustached youngsters stared as hands gestured.  The stranger nodded his head; Mother shook hers.  No money exchanged pockets.  Trust and benevolence prevailed between my mother and a total stranger in his new world.
Charity began at home, we learned, and we watched it spread way way past our Apple Street boundaries."

This was my Grandmas super special "Tweety" phone .... now, I keep it in my shop ... just in case!