I used to fold her undergarments, things like pantyhose, slips, granny panties, into interesting shapes to make furniture for my dolls. I’d create my own little version of a dollhouse on the floor in the corner of her bedroom. While my brother was at school, it was just she and I.
I had a real porcelain tea set, real miniature cups, saucers, a teakettle, and sugar bowl. She’d fill the teakettle with warm tea, bring out cheese and crackers, put sugar cubes in the sugar bowl, and I’d have a real tea party with my grandma.
She taught me how to play Uno, Rummy, and how to shuffle cards the cool way. She’d brush my hair, then I’d brush hers and play with it while she watched TV. On the nights I got to spend the night with her, we’d stay up late watching Disney channel waiting to see if DTV would come on. That was my favorite. It was a filler in between shows, music videos of fun kids songs put to Disney cartoons but it only came on late at night.
My brother and I never call her “Grandma.” I’ve heard a few excuses as to why, but whatever the reason, we grew up calling her by her first name, Peggy.
I remember she started to lose her vision when I was real young. But she still tried to do everything with me anyways. When I was a teen I lived with her. She may have had severe vision problems but could easily hit a grown man square in the head with anything in reach and from across the room when his smart mouth pissed her off.
She was the one all the grandkids went to for hugs and kisses; lots and lots of hugs and kisses. I was the eldest girl, my brother the eldest. He seemed to always be off doing his own thing. Teenage boys are too cool for family things.
She was encouraging, always telling us grandkids that we could do anything. She didn’t want us giving up. She was patient, very patient with the younger ones; I envied that when I was ready to ring their little necks! She was faith-filled, which was very… complicated. We had hardships, and I can’t emphasize that enough, but she always seemed, to me, to have faith in God. It was confusing to me while inspiring. But this is what I loved about my grandma the most: she listened.
All the other adults in the family couldn’t care less about what any of us kids had to say. Our opinions, our thoughts, our feelings, our dreams meant nothing to any of them. The younger ones were just in the way all the time, and the older of us were there to do chores and watch the little ones. But Peggy listened. She listened to us all from the time we said our first words and she did her best to hear every word. She would stop what she was doing and bend down to hear instead of yelling at someone to get out of the room and go play.
Everyday when I’d come home from high school, she’d sit with me and ask me about my day. Some days were less exciting then others. But no matter what, she’d sit there and listen to my response. After every outing, school event or trip, group date night, date night, prom, no matter what social gathering it was, or how late I got home, she would sit up with me and listen to my excitement as I retold my adventures. I was never afraid to tell her anything. I told her of boys I liked, well the plural part didn’t last long before I met my high school sweetheart. She knew of all my friends, of people I didn’t like, people I didn’t trust, favorite teachers, my dreams, my college plans, everything.
Teenage girls can talk a lot, trust me, and that didn’t seem to ever bother her. She never once told me to come back later because her favorite show was coming on. She listened to me gab and gab about everything and nothing, and more importantly, she heard me. She was there for me in a time when every teenage girl needs someone. And that really meant the world to me.
I’m referring to her in the past tense not because she has past on, because she hasn’t, but because this is from my memory of years ago. After school I left, and basically haven’t been back since. I’ve still called my grandma and talked with her for hours on the phone, she’s still the same person. I’m just referring to her from my youth. As a matter of fact, today is her birthday. For her sake, I’m leaving the number out (but the Neanderthals would be offended if they weren’t mentioned since they built the hospital she was born in).
I don’t get to see her much, rarely actually. We live in separate states now. Life keeps us apart. But I do love her very much and wish her all the best on this birthday!
Happy Birthday Peggy!