Remembering My Grandmother

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I am still biding time in Elizabeth City, the original “Rabbit Patch”,  so named because I am certain, there are more rabbits than people, here.  The days pass along sweetly-some sort of beauty unfolding on every one of them.  One needn’t have a keen eye nor a sixth sense to find a friendly face, an old fragrant rose or a laughing river.  Such things are far from rare, in this town.

Most days, I take Lyla for a walk around the Riverside  Village.  Lyla remembers where every dog and cat live-and where the rabbits are likely to be.  We usually stop at the banks of the river and when we do, a sense pf peace and quiet descends upon us.  We watch the river roll by while light twinkles upon it.  The river has been very blue, the last few days.  It is hard to be concerned about much else, when  you are watching a river tumble by.

I am glad for the river and the quiet moments we spend by it.  It gives me the fortitude I need in the midst of the commotion , of this season in my life.  The rabbit patch is officially up for sale, after all.  The summer is waning and by the time the August moon rises, I will be back at work.  I have not seen my sons nearly enough to suit me, this summer and I miss them terribly.  An Endless Summer is clearly a myth.  When my thoughts become jumbled with too many notions, I remind myself of what is constant and steadfast. This consoles me, and so “my heart is not troubled” nor melancholy-but instead joyful at the prospects, for only love is constant and I am not short on that.

 Today is my maternal grandmothers’ birthday.  I grew up in her presence, and I am not sorry for it.  She has been passed over forty years, now.  She died quite suddenly in the middle of a cruel night.  I was  ten years old, and I am just shy of sixty now, yet I remember clearly the details of that July.  I loved her so very much, that my eyes still sting, when I remember her.  I doubt she ever realised that her influence would remain so mighty.  She was after all, a farmers’ wife who collected eggs, watered livestock and kept house.  I don’t suppose, she ever considered herself as valuable as she really was-to all of us.  How could she have known that those trips to the “Dime Store”  would be etched in my memory, and still a delight, decades later? We made cakes if it rained, a long spell.  I still do that today.  I wonder if she realised that the set of “World Book Encyclopedias” we referred to often, spawned my life  long love of learning.  Grandmama made a difference in my life-and actually in Lylas’ too, and all the grandchildren, to follow. From “Edna Hodges Haddock”, I learned what grandmothers do.  They tell stories and teach rhymes, while they are snapping beans.  They save pocketbooks and shawls in a chest, for dress up . . and they sing “You Are My Sunshine”  while  you sit beside them in a swing on the front porch.  They love your freckles and call you “sugar”.

So it is true, as it is written, that ” some things will cease, and some be stilled-and some pass  away”  but “love does remain”  and maybe, that is what makes”it the greatest”.

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The path to the young woods at the rabbit patch.

 

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50 thoughts on “Remembering My Grandmother

  1. What can I say, Ma’am ? What you have written is words that might have come from a poet of long ago- like Wordsworth or Longfellow- people who had lived true lives like ours and wrote from their daily lives. You remember your nana from when you were 10 years of age and the things she did, sang and baked with you- the important word here is “with”- she didn’t do things for you- she did things ‘ with you”- that’s what makes you cherish her and wish you were with her.
    I had a nana too once- she went away 4 years ago. I remember her most of the time and mostly its good except for the days she suffered a loss of memory and the changes of old age. She was a farmer’s wife too- delighting in her cooking and her family and feeding her children well and being a good neighbor. She is gone now too. My mom longs for the day she can be with her and so do I.
    Susie

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    1. well, this comment touched me deeply. I am so very grateful you take the time to leave words of gold. You are so right, that is experience and not things that make the difference-and what we remember. thank you my dear Susieshy! love Michele

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  2. I think that’s possibly why I loved the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” so much. The mood and music and all that you said about your grandmother is what I remember of mine. I might add a couple more things though. Another fond memory was sitting under the patchwork quilt frame watching her and her friends as they made each meticulously stitch above me and then Grandma making me wear a huge bonnet to keep me from getting too brown. She said it would keep me from looking like a ‘pick-a-ninny’, a term not politically correct these days, but what she said affectionately then. It was the 50’s And, I know she meant no harm by it.

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  3. Hello dearest Rabbit.
    What a wonderful read this post was.
    I absolutely loved that you spoke of how you were raised in the shadow of your Grandmothers love…. for I was too!
    My parents were both professional entertainers, so were either out until the early hours of the morning, or away for days at a time. (My father was normally away for months at a time sometimes). So my maternal Grandmother stepped in to look after me. I remember her so very fondly and can recall how we would go shopping together, and it was because of this that I learnt about the weights of things.

    I learnt how to cook from her, and I remember that she made the BEST chips (fries for USA folks) for me.
    On the birth of my first daughter, I can remember saying to my husband that I wished my Grandma was alive to see her. Then I went up stairs to check on my baby …. I walked across the nursery and just as I got bang smack in the middle of the room, I could smell my Grandmas chips. By the time I realised I’d moved forward and could no longer smell the smell. So I turned around and tried to trace my steps exactly. There it was again!

    I called to my husband and told him to come upstairs quickly…. he walked across the room and couldn’t smell it. I tried again …. but this time … the smell had gone. I felt so sad that it wasn’t there any longer. I checked on the baby and then went back downstairs.

    My husband … who wasn’t a great believer in these things said …. “I think that that was a way of your Grandma telling you that she’d been and seen the little one. You’d said just minutes before you went upstairs that you wished your Grandma had seen her. She was letting you know that … she’d seen our baby.”

    I burst into tears of gratitude, for I could see that it made sense.
    I’d been brought up mainly by my Grandma. She was letting me know that there was no way she was going to miss seeing my new baby.

    As usual Rabbit, I was with you every step of the way with this post. Your words seem to have the ability to scoop me up and carry me along. Time stands still and allows me to actually be there, in spirit, in order to feel that feeling. To see that thing. To experience everything you describe to me. I really can see, feel, and almost touch it. You are such a wonderful writer. And I love you for it.

    Sending much love ~ Cobs. xxx

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    1. This comment is like the icing on my cake! I just love the story about your grandmother. So your parents were entertainers? you ought to write about that-How dear you are to visit the rabbit patch-actually visit in such a special way-you are ALWAYS welcome. Your words touch my heart-thank you love Michele

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  4. Wonderful piece of writing!! Bought back memories of my own beloved grandmother. I became a grandmother much like my own and am enjoyed every moment of it. I often think thy will forget me but you didn’t and I didn’t so maybe ours will pass on the grandmother legacy.

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  5. There’s so much in your post that I remember, too: the porch swing, the bean snapping, the cake-baking. Also: the World Book, the egg collecting, and the Dime Store. I’ve decided that whatever society at large says, I still have a choice to live in that simpler, kinder world. What was important about it doesn’t change, and we can help to keep it alive.

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  6. A beautiful tribute to your grandmother. My Nana was a blessing in my life too. Now we are the grandmothers- and The traditions continue. Lyla is blessed to have such a wise and talented grandmother. I still see a book in your future!

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  7. Such a lovely memory you have of your grandmother even with such few years spent with her. Yes Love is the greatest of them all…and it is clear just how much she loved you as the impression she left upon has not faded all these 40 years later! Just think of the wonderful memories you are giving to Lyla, thanks to Grandmama. Lyla will one day be telling this story of you. Love Deb. xo

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    1. thank you Deb-I am wanting more than anything to give Lyla stories-and hopefully lessons on gratitude. I really lived with my grandmama til 10-I am so very thankful for the simple and enriching life we had. love <michele

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  8. Another beautiful post! I thought of my grandmothers and how GRAND they were. My brother and I knew we were loved fiercely, protectively, and gently. As to the present, number one grandson was just with me. He had wrapped himself in a warm throw and hugged me in the cold mountain air. Number two grandson is surprisingly still asleep. It was almost 11 last night when he got home from work. The owner’s mother saw John in the parking lot waiting for him. She walked over to thank John for bringing Nathaniel to them, saying what a wonderfully hard worker he was. She walked back inside and repeated those words of praise directly to him. Talk about a grandmother high!!! We remember having lots of special moments with the boys when they were Lyla’s age. Our special times are different now, but they are just as precious.

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  9. Lovely. Your have described your grandmother so well. She was so much like my grandma Velva – a wonderful lady and such a kind and gentle soul. My grandmother was a farmer’s wife also. The memories are so precious.

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  10. My maternal grandmother also died when I was about 8 yrs old. I, too, have marvelous memories of her presence is our lives: teaching music (she was a music teacher & taught me piano from the age of 5), taking us for fried chicken & biscuits after school, making our holidays festive & always being there for our sometimes-tired out Mama (of 5!) Today my oldest sister is also a music teacher with over 40 piano (& voice) students each week… & we are grateful for our grandmother’s influence in our lives. Blessings & hugs! 💜🙏💜

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  11. Tears came to my eyes as I read your description of what grandmothers do because it brought my dear grandmother back to me along with my beloved mother because I watched her do those very things, first with my two youngest brothers and then with her grandchildren. I, in turn, duplicated the pattern when I married Joel and he brought grandchildren into my life. (I married him when his first granddaughter was nine months, so all seven have grown up with me as part of their lives. I was truly blessed.) My entire being responded to your memories of your grandmother, Michele.

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  12. We all remember our childhoods, and those fortunate enough remember grandparents.
    It’s funny, when you’re an adult and raising a family you don’t think that much about your parents, except maybe a good appreciation for the raising, and maybe some ideas about what you’d like to do better.
    When we get to be grandparents, we remember exactly the way ours were, and emulate them.
    It is a most fitting turn in in the great circle.
    Not long after, we seem to see our own parents in a different light, as we watch our children play the role.
    “If I knew then what I know now”…

    Seek peace,

    Paz

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