Posts Tagged ‘grandma’

Bundled up in my warmest clothes and wrapped in my yellow blankee with bunnies. My first big snow. I am not 100% sure of the year, but it must have been 1979 or 1980. Snow stacked at least to the knee of a tall adult. We lived at the bottom of a hill and my grandparents situated at the peak. My father carried me while my mom toted my little sis to trek up the hill to grandma and grandpa’s house. My first memory of snow.

The biggest snow of my life thus far fell when I was around 11 years old.  My sister and I were living in Charlotte with my mom and we knew that wasn’t the place to take advantage of the winter wonderland. We convinced my mom to drive us to our Aunt Tammie’s house so we could do some serious sledding. Within a few miles of Tammie’s home was a place called “The Tickle Hills”… which was in fact a long dirt road with crazy steep hills! There was woods on either side of the road with gulleys between. During the day, we went with the family, including grandparents and cousins, to take on the hills. Someone had the bright idea of placing my grandma on a saucer sled! Having no way to steer, she didn’t make it but a few feet down the hill before shooting off the road, launching airborne, and jumping the ditch. I remember the moment of “Uh-oh, there goes grandma!” The saucer slid up part of a tree trunk before coming to a halt and dumping my grandma out upside down. We couldn’t breathe! She wasn’t injured. We laughed until we cried!  She was done. No more rides for grandma. We kind of lost her trust in the activity.

After dark, my sis and I returned to the sledding site with my aunt and her husband. He parked the trucks at the bottom of the hill with the headlights beaming up and 80’s music blaring from the speakers. The light did not reach the top, so we started off in the dark. My aunt would lie on the flyer and I would lie on top of her. This made for less stability and probably contributed to the many times we wrecked. We couldn’t make it all the way to the bottom… we would get shaky, lose control, spin out, and go flying in different directions, screaming and laughing through the icy air. Then it happened. We bolted down the hill at top speed, quickly approaching the trucks at the bottom. I don’t think it had occurred to us that we may get that far, and we did not have a plan for stopping or what to do when about to collide with the vehicles. The trucks were parked closely together, it was a narrow road afterall. Tammie kept screaming, “Just hold on, don’t wobble!” She steadied the sled, kept on a straight path, and we sailed in between the trucks at top speed! Scary! Great rush and FUN!

1995 – The first snow for Precious, Black Mountain, NC. She was about 5 months old. We rented a private cabin and was snowed in for days. The most fun was watching Precious run around the side of the mountain, kicking up snow, eating snow, spinning,  jumping, and  prancing around like she was a furry ice princess. Her tags became coated with snow and she ended up wearing a frozen snow ball around her neck. I had to make her go inside. She just couldn’t get enough!

The first snow for Sebastian when he was a puppy. He was between 4-5 months old. It snowed at our house and he didn’t know how he should walk in it. He kept leaping in and out of it, much like a deer. I wish I had a video. He loved that it was cold, would move, could be kicked and eaten!

The last snow for Sebastian, 2009. Last year it snowed several inches near the end of January. Sebastian had not been as active in the months leading up to the snow. He had turned 9 the previous August and his joints wouldn’t allow him to be as playful and bouncy as in his younger days. Well, when he walked out the door into the snow, the puppy was back! He immediately started shoveling it into his big mouth, and then ran down the stairs from the deck into the yard and started kicking up his feet and bouncing around like a bunny or deer like he had when he was a pup. His eyes were wide and googly with excitement! I went out in the yard and began throwing snow up in the air. He was ecstatic! He would jump up and to catch the flakes in his mouth, and then he would patiently sit and quietly request that I do it again. When he really wanted something, he could have amazing manners (or rather offer a polite way of being bossy). He ran around the yard with me, my other dog (his plutonic girlfriend) Mica, and tried to find every way he could to use the snow, enjoy the snow, play with the snow… and he was the happiest dog. A short 6 weeks later, his legs couldn’t carry him anymore and I had to say goodbye. I am so thankful he had those last moments of celebrating life!


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Inspired by Waiting for the Click and Why Is Daddy Crying?

I divided this into 2 posts because it ended up quite lengthy.

The first memories of music I have is from my father. He died when I was 6 years old. He loved music! He played in a band during his teen years and while I was young, he had amps set up in the garage through which he would  play his electric guitar. I remember pulling in the long driveway to our house after a trip to the  grocery store with my mom, and my dad would be rockin’ out in the garage, singing songs through a microphone and jamming on his guitar. He had the presence of a rock star! He would play his albums in the downstairs den and loved to watch my sister and I dance around and bounce like jumping beans to the tunes of Led Zeppelin, Allman Brothers Band, Grand Funk Railroad, and of course The Grateful Dead. I remember being so energized by the music, I could only see my blonde hair whipping around in front of my face and could hear my dad’s laughter through the fast guitar and heavy drums. One of my happiest memories of my entire life.

(I wish I had a photo of my father to include, but my sister borrowed my photo album and has not returned it. I will scan each and every photo as soon as I get it back!)

Michael Jackson – Thriller. My grandma. We had a Friday tradition of going to town to the steak house and then to the mall. My grandparents allowed me to select the first album I would own, and they purchased it for me. We returned home and played it on the turntable in the huge wooden cabinet. (I tried to find a picture but I couldn’t find one nearly as huge as the one in my grandparents’ home.) My grandma danced with me and it was all kinds of fun! I was 7. It’s the first memory I have of seeing my grandma be totally joyful and have fun since my dad had died the previous year.

Country music two-stepped in. My mother’s favorite was country and the next guy she dated after my father died was a DJ on the top country station in Charlotte. She was always going to concerts and coming home with pictures with the artists. Alabama was my first concert. I was 7 or 8 years old and I fell asleep. Their music still comforts me. I have not been a country music fan in my adult life. I never listen to country radio stations, but there are songs of that genre from the early 80’s that are so nostalgic. One summer at Myrtle Beach, it wouldn’t stop raining. Stuck in the house for a couple of days, we listened to Alabama over and over. Dixieland Delight, Mountain Music, Feels So Right. I now have some of them on my iPod and my favorite is “The Closer You Get”. I remember sitting in the white plastic swivel chair in the living room and helping my mom put a puzzle together while the rain loudly poured outside. I’m sure the puzzle was a picture of horses… or maybe puppies.

A lot of the music from the 70’s reminds me of my Aunt Tammie. She introduced me to Foreigner, 38 Special, Heart, Blondie, Parliament-Funkadelic, and The Sugarhill Gang, just to name a few. She admired Ann & Nancy Wilson of Heart because they played their own instruments… didn’t need men for rock guitar. We dressed up in costumes, make-up, heels, and danced around to choreographed routines. Laughing and giggling to the wee hours of the morning.

And then there was Bon Jovi. My obsession. I was such a dedicated fan that I owned a band t-shirt for each day of the week, and in the 6th grade, my entire wardrobe consisted of blue jeans, high top Converse sneakers, and Bon Jovi t-shirts. I didn’t care how nerdy anyone thought me to be. It was about the music. It mattered more. And who are we kidding? I had a mad crush on Jon Bon Jovi. To this day, you listen to the old songs and realize why women love them so much. We all want a man to think of us and love us the way he describes in those songs. No matter how cheesy anyone thinks the music is, one should be so lucky to have another love them so passionately. “I’ll be there till the stars don’t shine Till the heavens burst and words don’t rhyme And I know when I die you’ll be on my mind
And I’ll love you always

I loved the movie Pretty in Pink. I had the soundtrack on cassette tape and played it on a Walkman. I used to spend all of my weekends at my grandparents’ home. I would spend hours driving the go-cart around their property, around the pond, the dog pens, the orchard, the gardens with my headphones blaring the soundtrack over and over, thinking about how I couldn’t wait to become a teenager and have a boyfriend. “If you leave, don’t leave now. Please don’t take my heart away…”

Speaking of boyfriends, a highschool boyfriend used to sing to me as long as I couldn’t see him. He would hold me close and sing in my ear, “Shameless” by Garth Brooks. “Well I’m shameless when it comes to loving you
I’ll do anything you want me to… I’ll do anything at all
Every Boys II Men song reminds me of those days too and of that relationship. One moment in particular was on a hot summer night. The song was playing on a girl’s boombox by the pool. Swimming at night is the best, especially with someone who is playful and sings you Boys II Men.

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I have a love-hate relationship with make-up. It began at a very early age. Well, the love part came about early, and now the hate pops up on random days. The women we grow up with in our families leave a heavy mark on us. Some of us may be successful in debunking those influences if we consciously oppose them and want to reach a comfort zone free from such opinions and routines. Most of us end up with an imprint, influence from the women who raised us up, rather we like it or not.

My mother wore make-up. My paternal grandmother wore make-up, always. (My maternal grandmother died while I was a baby.) I remember that my mother seemed to get self-esteem, the motivation to socialize through her make-up. She did the full-face… foundation to dark creamy eye shadow, to lipstick, and always lots of mascara. She never told me that I needed to wear it… my grandma is a different story. My grandmother always had on make-up and her hair was always perfectly coifed. She had a huge mirror mounted on the wall of her hallway that had two sides on hinges that would swing out so she could examine her hair from all angles, to be sure all was smoothed, no holes, no awkward pieces sticking out or up. Perfect. Now I don’t know exactly how big her contribution was to the thinning of the ozone, but before CFC’s were taken out of aerosol hairspray, I’m sure she socked it her share of damage.

Appearance was of moderate to high concern and we were coached, assisted, and reminded of this on a regular basis. The biggest beauty production of all occurred each Sunday, getting ready for church. The process began on Saturday evening. My grandmother would wash my hair, let it dry in front of the fireplace, and then she would roll it in big, squishy, pink rollers, and/or socks for me to sleep in. We had to style our hair, we had to wear stockings, we had heels on our shoes from a young age, and of course, we had to wear make-up.

My grandmother had a very passive-aggressive way about her. I remember visiting her once in my twenties and she made breakfast for me like she always did (she loved to cook for everybody and often and as much as possible.), so I got myself presentable enough to visit the breakfast table, or so I thought. No one else was visiting at the time or stopping by to join us for breakfast. I think my grandpa was out hunting or mowing the lawn.

I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair (which is about the most I do to my straight hair anyway), got dressed, and put on make-up. I walked down the hall and through the living room, reached my seat and began chit-chatting with MaMa as she prepared the food. The first thing she asked was if I was feeling okay. She said that I looked a little peaked (read: code word for Southern women which really means, “You look like shit darling!”), probably because I didn’t have my face on yet. Remember, I had on full make-up sans lipstick. After pointing that out, she said that putting on some lip color should perk me up. Oy vey.

I purposely did not put anything on my lips because I was going to be eating immediately AND the only person to see me was my dear, sweet grandmother. Alas, I still wasn’t pulled together enough for the occasion.

A few years ago, what the hell was she called? A motivational speaker maybe? She wasn’t. A lot of it turned out to be a joke, but she provided a free workshop for the staff where I worked. It was just ever so difficult for her audience to take her seriously, due to the fact that much of her spiel was focused on nutrition, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight… meanwhile we were all staring at – not a chubby woman – but a significantly overweight woman in poor physical shape. Back to why this is related to make-up. In the midst of discussing how we can feel better at work, she mentioned make-up. She was actually talking about being observant of your co-workers and recognizing when they may be getting depressed, in a rut with work, burned out, etc. Basically letting themselves go. What she said created a lot of upset among many of the women on staff. It was interesting to learn how differently some of us interpreted what she was saying. A few of the women were ranting and pissed. Yes, I have always been taught that putting on make-up is part of preparing to go out into the world, but I totally get it when women find that insulting. Here’s the thing, she wasn’t suggesting for women who never wear make-up to suddenly start wearing it. She was encouraging us all to pay attention to changes from the norm for a person. So if a co-worker who usually wears make-up and styles her hair a certain way, begins showing up for work with a naked face and hair pulled back in a messy bun, then something may be going on with that person… because it’s not typical for that person. No matter how I tried to explain that rationale, my co-workers were pissed!

I started wearing make-up way too young. I had on full make-up in my 5th grade school photo! It starts out fun. But then you feel like you need it… making one feel self-conscious without it… and that kind of sucks. No, it really sucks! I didn’t even need make-up when I was young. I always had great skin overall, no acne, no uneven coloration, but I thought I needed to paint on it. The real bummer is that right when I stopped enjoying putting on make-up and just got down right sick of the whole routine, I actually need it now. I mean, I don’t think I would stop breathing or anything, but I am aging and dealing with dark under eye circles and the other little not-so-cute things that happen. If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t want it to feel like an expectation of her, and I would not want her to build her self-esteem based on such at any age. I am actually envious of women who feel most comfortable naked-faced. The sick truth of it is, I still get all giddy shopping for make-up and trying out new products. Call me shallow, but it is ingrained in my brain… blame it on grandma!

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