Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Grandma's Birthday

It's been a funny sort of year pertaining to paternal grandma's. I write this for today to remember the Grandma who helped raise me.  On the other hand I've spent a significant amount of time searching for and learning about my genetic paternal grandmother.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about family and how I define it. Many times I've said that my friends are my family, in part because I haven't a large number of immediate family members left and also because I haven't a great deal in common with those family members who remain. However, for all our differences, and in spite of how fascinating it is to discover the stories of my genetic family, my 'real' family members are the ones I grew up knowing. The feeling of family comes most strongly to me when sharing memories of those loved ones long gone. I can listen to reminiscences about my parents and grandparents, about my aunt Rita for a very long time. 

I hope I take after my genetic grandmothers, as one lived to age 91 and the other to nearly 97! However, the older I get the more I appreciate my Grandma's qualities. 

I've been working through the pile of stuff in the attic while the weather is mild enough to make it bearable. It is as much a curse as a blessing to have a space like this. There have been times when I felt a bit dizzy at the top of the step ladder, looking around at the accumulation of shelves, boxes, bags, oddments, Bill's luggage collection, my canning jar collection. Christmas stuff aside I have at times looked around and worried I might have a DSM-5 code looming. However, with my new environmentally-friendly standards for clothing fabrics and a renewed commitment to wearing 'my' colours/contrast, etc., there has been a steady stream of upper-body strengthening donations to the Relate charity shop in Whitley Bay. 

Never thought I'd say bright sun was a nuisance...

Two items I came across that will be always remain are these aprons that belonged to Grandma. They were Christmas gifts from one of her sisters, I'm pretty sure from Myrtle who was her younger sister by three years. Grandma had a sister, Millie, just one year older but Millie died in 1961 when I was five. Myrtle outlived Grandma by nearly a decade.



I remember a green one and may run across it some time. I see there are some tiny holes in the brown apron which, as they are about 50 years old, I think can be forgiven. Given the long life of decent fabric I consider 'disposable clothing' an obscenity.




I rarely remember to wear aprons when I cook, a habit I keep thinking I'll change. However, when I do don one of the aprons hanging on the back of the kitchen door, it covers both above and below the waist. I always thought these little half-aprons sort of a house-wifey costume. Then again maybe in the 50s women weren't as sloppy as I am.




I was just thinking it was a shame I never wear these aprons and it suddenly dawned on me that I am developing the skills to cut a top piece and attach it to the bottom part. I remembered that the hems on these are quite deep - 4 or 5" - and so I could steal a bit of the hem to make a matching trim on the top. Or I could go all out and do some red and green cross-stitch. Pink, red and green aren't colours I would have mixed, but I must admit the roses are a nice design. As it happens I have quite a bit of plain white cotton that could be shaped with a loop for the head and some kind of trim. When and if this happens, I will be sure to share them with you. I can see a deadline of her next birthday post would be useful. 




The other thing I've done this past year is to knit dishcloths (no photos to hand at this moment so that will have to be another post). We have stopped buying sponges that wear out in a week. I've made dishcloths for Christmas gifts (not sure how well that went over). 




I gave one to my sister-in-law, Jane, when I knocked off a couple during our holiday together in Switzerland last May. I took a couple to our Thursday night craft group since there never seemed to be a sponge around for washing tea cups and I began to worry about the hygiene levels there. I've taken to drinking hot water instead of tea/coffee and though I know tea stains aren't important, I was pleased to be able to scrub a few off. I think some of the ladies at the craft group were pleased as well, from both a crafty and a cleaning point of view.




I know Grandma would be very happy to know some of her ideas have stuck with me. I also know that she wanted very much to be remembered after she passed, and so she will be for as long as I can see to that. 

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