When I was a little girl my grandmother and great grandmother lived together in a sweet little light lime green house in Easton, MA. My grandmother’s house was always a welcoming place. It had a little breezeway connected to the front room. The kitchen wasn’t the biggest, but it was the warm area where we would meet every morning after a sleepover and eat either shredded wheat or cream of wheat. I never really liked either of those, but I’d eat it anyway because they had offered it to me and cooked it with love. I would go visit them as often as I could and sleep on the roll out couch bed that they had in the basement. I loved my grandmother and great grandmother. They were both amazing people.
My Great Grandmother
My great grandmother was about 101 years young at the time I am remembering. She was up walking around the house doing whatever she felt she wanted to do. She lived in her house until she was about 102, when she fell and broke her arm. After being in the hospital for tests, she decided that it would make my grandmother’s life easier if she went to a nursing home to live. (My great grandmother was not one of those people that goes into a nursing home and gets absolutely no visitors because my family doesn’t work that way. We were over there a few times a month to visit her and love on her. We even enjoyed visiting with her roommate Ada.)
She was a “whipper snapper”, as we jokingly called her. She didn’t marry my great-grandfather until she was in here 30s. She was a very independent person, which was part of the reason that she didn’t move from the house until she was 102. She wanted to take care of herself and not have to depend on people.
She had her brain about her all throughout her life and her memory was amazing. I am sure that was the last thing to go when she finally passed. She died at the age of 104 in1995. She lived through the time when the Titanic sank, the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression, both world wars, and so many presidents that the thought baffles me. Had I realized at the time what amazing things she lived through I would have been sitting at her feet begging her to tell me more stories.
My grandmother was an amazingly loving woman. She was the wife of a pastor and her love for God and other human beings came through in everything she did.
Other than the times that I spent visiting her at her house, I can honestly say that I talked to her every day. I remember calling her up on Monday nights and giving her my new list of spelling words. Every night after that she would drill me on them, with a pretest the night before the test. I know there were times I’d get annoyed with having to do them, but doing them with my grandmother made it so much easier. I remember going to her house and smiling to myself, seeing that list of words sitting on the little counter space by her telephone. That was just one way that she showed me that she loved me. Sweetly, my Auntie Jody picked up the spelling words after my grandmother’s passing. Part of me almost thinks that made it a little bit easier to handle.
My grandmother and I did so many different things together. I remember coloring with her, going for walks, singing songs with her in the car on our way to the store. I also remember watching Clifford videos. We loved Clifford videos.
My grandmother passed in 1995, about a month after my great grandmother did, from the breast cancer that she had been fighting for years. My grandmother’s struggle with cancer was the reason my great grandmother went to the nursing home. My great grandmother wanted to give her a fighting chance to beat it. Throughout the treatments, I never heard about how sick she was. I never heard her say that she was tired until about 2 months before her death. My grandmother was a fighter and she was not someone that anyone could consider a complainer.
Put simply, My “Gramma” Peterson was everything that I want to be.
Today Neylan was outside in the front yard spending some time with Lauren, while I was in the house doing something important. He soon came back into the house super excited with a smile and red juice all over his face.
The Husband looked at him and gasped, thinking him to have eaten non-edible berries. Lauren quickly calmed the Husband’s fears smiling and saying, “Don’t worry. I’m eating them too.”
“What are they?” He asked her.
“Just strawberries.” she replied.
The Husband then went outside to see what all the excitement was about. Seeing all the tiny strawberries, he brought Ney back in and told him to “show Mommy the strawberries.”
Neylan and I made our way towards the front door, opened it, and walked out. The mixture of sunshine and shade were what good dreams and nostalgic memories are made of.
As we made our way down the drive way I asked him, ” Neylan, where are the strawberries? Can you show mommy?”
“Stwabewwies. stwabewwies.” he said and led me to the little patch that separates our driveway into two entrances.
There they were. The entire little plot of land that fills that gap was covered with little strawberry plants. The little berries were no bigger than my fingernail, but they tasted as sweet as I could have remembered my grandmother’s tasting.
In that moment, I became that little girl again. There I was in my grandmother and great grandmother’s back yard. There were the “round and rounds”. There was the kiddy pool. There were the strawberries. The sweet, succulent strawberries that they grew in the back yard and they were just begging to be picked and eaten.
I know that this is not just one of my favorite memories of spring and summer visiting my grandmother and great grandmother… It’s one of my sister’s as well.
It’s funny the tastes of food and the smells of perfume that spark our memories, but some of those memories are oh so sweet!
Megan A.K.A. “Mom”