Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mommy's Good Old Days - Preschool Memories

This post is part 2 in a 15 week series sponsored by Mommy's Piggy Tales that encourages women to record their youth. Week two's assignment is preschool/kindergarten years.


I don't have many concrete memories of my preschool days. Mostly I just remember snippets of time, often jogged into my memory by old photographs.

I remember sitting on my knees on the couch looking out the front picture window waiting for my older brothers to get home from school with our faithful dog, Rufus, by my side.

I remember running around the back yard and swinging on the tire swing that hung from the box elder tree with my neighbors, Jeremy and Jenny and Trish.

I remember the long drive to church (a whopping 13 miles!) and how my mom used to make us sing choruses to keep us kids from fighting with each other.

I remember joyfully playing in my room - Barbies, teaching school to all my dolls and enjoying each and every stuffed animal I owned, even though I had many.

My brothers and I wading in a Kentucky creek with my grandma

But one solid memory, forever etched in my mind is the memory of my grandmother, Beaulah. My mom's own mother, she was my favorite person in the world. Loving and kind, always willing to have us over and make no-bake cookies with us, she embodied everything you expect in a grandmother. She lived just 4 or 5 blocks from school and I remember walking that distance
with my older brothers to hang out at her house after school when I was in kindergarten until our parents could pick us up.

She would often have us sleep over and although I only remember sleeping on her couch, the story is told that she would put the littlest one in the bathtub to sleep so we wouldn't roll off the bed. I only remember her living in a tiny, one bedroom apartment, but my mind seems to have memorized that home. She collected salt and pepper shakers and I would stand for what seemed like hours looking carefully at each individual set, even playing with some when she felt I would be trustworthy enough not to break them.

I remember her love for cats, Siamese cats to be specific. She had a porcelin lamp shaped like 2 Siamese cats with a small bulb in the back whose light only escaped through their oval eyes. I was both scared and intrigued by that lamp.

I remember celebrating Christmas Eve with her, in that miniscule place we would cram both my family and her son's family, all clammoring to have a moment of her attention. She didn't necessarily lavish us with gifts, especially compared to today's standards for Christmas, but she always seemed to pick out the best present for each of us. I was never disappointed from her gifts; she knew each of us well and reflected her knowledge in that way.

She worked at the hospital in town. My mom would bring us to visit her on many occasions and we would ride the slow elevator to the basement and walk down the long, green corridor to the laundry room to see her and she always took the time to stop and visit with us, and pose for a picture if my mom remembered the camera (and she usually did!). She would squeeze all of us around her and we would willingly smile, cherishing those stolen moments with her before she returned to her work.

My memories of my beloved Grandmother end before I graduated from Kindergarten, as she died of a heart attack just days after her 61st birthday. Of course as a child, your grandmother always seems old, and as I mourned her, I didn't fully realize how young she was to die. Now that I have children of my own, I understand better how young she really was, and what a tragic loss it was for my mother, as well it was for us.

When I think about my life as a preschooler, my memories may be snippets, but no memory is more precious than the few years I was honored to know my Grandma.


Gretchen said...

Oh, Donette, how sweet to post your memories of your grandmother like this. She was young! Those preschool memories of her are all the more precious.

gianna said...

What great memories and sad memories. My grandpa died of a heart attack when he was 64 so I completely understand how he seemed so old when I was 4, but now my dad is 60 and I realize how old he is NOT!
Thanks for sharing your grandma with us!

Andrea said...

She sounds like a BEAUTIFUL lady! I am not from your group, but I am still visiting nonetheless! :o) I was blessed to have my grandmother just a few years longer than you were given, but it seems as though no time is plenty enough. I understand how devastating, as my grandmother was one of my very best people growing up! But how lucky we both are to have such great and lasting memories of our beloved grandmothers!

Miscellaneous From Missy said...

I loved reading this post. Such happy memories! My grandma had a salt and pepper shaker collection as well, and I spent hours staring at them and carefully playing with a few of them.

Your grandma sounds like a wonderful lady!

Ginny Marie said...

When I was growing up, I always wished that I lived closer to my grandma! We only saw her a few times a year, and I have fond memories of the times we saw her.

Jenni said...

My Granni died when I was in college, and even though she was 84, she still seemed too young to die. (She was still cutting her .75 acre lawn with a push mower a few months before she passed!) She was my best friend and I deeply miss her, thinking of her often. I wish she could've met my girls!

Thank you for sharing your story about your grandmother. It inspires me to someday be the kind of grandmother yours and mine was.