Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Memorial

I know that Memorial Day is traditionally a day for remembering those who have died in military service, but in my family we decorate all of the headstones of family members that have died with beautiful flower arrangements. I have many memories of memorial days spent driving in my grandparent’s van with the smell of chrysanthemums in the air. So this year for Memorial Day, since I can’t be with my mom when she buys roses for Grandma Egan’s grave, I’d like to write a few things that I remember about my grandparents that have passed on.

Grandma Egan (Lois)—I remember lots of weekends before Memorial Day going to the Pleasant View cemetery with Grandma to clean headstones. Of course I did more pretend dancing and acting on the little amphitheater than cleaning, but I learned the importance of respecting and honoring the dead from my Grandma’s dedication. Grandma Egan had chickens and sheep, snap dragons and roses, taffy cookies and Swedish fish. She was an amazing quilter and seamstress, and the quilt that Nate and I use every winter was made by her. I remember shelling peas on the back porch with her and my mom, and hanging out in the back room waiting for the Christmas candy the two of them had made to get cool enough to eat. She had a house full of antiques and history; not to mention great toys and a basement big enough to roller skate in when we were little. She always had flat diet pepsi in the fridge, which was the fridge that she hung all of our watercolors on. Her work clothes consisted of house dresses and aprons all sewn by her. I don’t know how many she had but when I was little I imagined her closet being full of hundreds of different combinations of dresses and aprons. I miss her every Thanksgiving because I have yet to eat dinner rolls I like as much as her, and she is the only reason I can think of that I bug Nate to buy me chickens each spring.

Grandma Black (Arica)—I spent a lot of time with my Grandma Black. I grew up across the canal from her so when mom had to work or pretty much anytime I felt like it; I could go to Grandma’s. She had a never ending supply of Nacho Cheese Doritos, marshmallows, bananas, hot dogs, and cold water. She didn’t have a ton of toys but she did have a huge living room with few breakables so it was great to play in. Grandma helped me name our kitties things like “yellow” and “dolly.” We planted pansies in the summer and one year we covered her whole flower bed with white rocks. I think it might have been to keep the weeds down but I remember it being a pain to get rid of the rocks later. Grandma’s car smelled like juicy fruit (for obvious reasons) and Windex because she always parked under the car port and had to clean the dirt covered windshield every time we went anywhere. One of Grandma’s legs was arthritic, I think it was her right, and she had to drag it a bit as she walked. She also had to lift it onto the gas pedal when we drove…which only worried me in retrospect. She colored her hair strawberry blonde and used AquaNet to hold her curls in place. She would play library with me, read me tons of books, and let me play with her typewriter all I wanted. I colored all over the bottom of her coffee table while she would cook lunch. I dry my silverware the same way I watched Grandma do it a million times and I think of her whenever I wear pink.

Grandpa Black (Spencer)—I remember thinking Grandpa was so weird because he said words like Cycle (pronounced “sickle” for “bicycle) and tennie runners (shoes). He had a high pitched laugh, a warm face, and he smelled like Old Spice—which smelled good because it was on an old man like it was supposed to be. When we would go to Dairy Queen he ordered a pineapple and peanut milkshake. Every morning I would go with my dad to have breakfast at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Grandpa would drink some coffee, eat half a grapefruit, and eat either shredded wheat or cheerios with honey drizzled on top. On sunny mornings when I put honey on my bran flakes instead of sugar I can hear his voice in my head saying “Good morning, good morning, what a fine day this morning….”

Happy Memorial Day


1 comment:

nina said...

Thank-you Mandy. That was very beautiful and warmed my heart. I will send the pictures of the corsage after I get done watching the Jazz get creamed!!