Saturday, July 4, 2009

More faces

After my grandfather died, around 1930, an elderly woman moved into his house. It was such a cute little house and the garden was well kept when Grandfather lived there. Soon after she moved in it became evident that the garden was the least of her interests. We, his grand children, had been employed to see to it that there no weeds in his garden. One year there was a severe influx of some kind of worm in the Reseda that edged the walk way from the gate in his fence to his front door. We got a swedish penny for each worm we pulled out of the flowers. You may think this was slave labor, but we got so many pennies my mother insisted we had to save ten percent and then we could go to the Candy store. So how does this come in under the heading of More Faces? Sorry, this new face didn't care about the Reseda or anything in the garden.

We soon discovered that she was an alcoholic. At night, sometimes after midnight she would walk down the lane to our house. She had lost her way to her out-house and my mother would have to turn her around and steer her back up the lane. And sometime it was too late. She would relieve herself on the way home.

If you met her during the day, in one of the shops, she was a good looking woman, with good clothes and a happy outlook on life. She was the first person I had met who drank too much. Except for the drunks you'd see on the ferry between Helsingborg, Sweden and Helsinor Denmark. Mostly Swedes took advantage of the drinks you could buy. Twenty minutes on the way over and twenty minutes on the way back. Looking back now, it seems the drinks must have been expensive, what with having to buy two ferry rides.

Farmor, meaning our paternal grandmother, had a lovely face. She was very wrinkled but she had the happiest face. Her eyes sparkled. She had a hunch back which was probably caused by lack of calcium when she carried her eight children. They were very poor at some times in their marriage. Grandmother was a perfect grandmother who would pick us up (one at a time ) and spend a forenoon reading to us. She would also let us play with the skin on her hands. We would lightly pinch her skin, and when we let go, the skin would stand up all by itself. We learned how to count that way. We would begin counting when we first pinched and when her hand was flat again we stopped. Such sport !!!

9 comments:

Ter-o-fla said...

That is so neat that your grandmother would let you play with the skin on her hands. I think many women would not want that, as it is a sign that they are _old_.

Thank you for sharing your memories!

Charlene said...

I love your memories. Such a treat from you to us. I had not heard of Reseda so googled it. Does this look like it? http://www.fourlangwebprogram.com/fourlang/afbeeldingen/Reseda_odorata.jpg
I read that it is highly fragrant. I bet your grandfather's garden was a delight.

Haphazardkat said...

I remember playing with my Mom's hands while trapped on a hard pew in a long church service.
I had forgotten that memory.
Your words brought it back with bittersweet clarity.

Kat
Vancouver, WA

Tsitsi said...

My grandmother used to let us do that, too. I had forgotten that completely. Thank you for the memories. Mine was also a fairytale grandmother.

Shibi04 said...

I have to add that my grandmother also used to let us play with her skin. Mostly, I remember how soft her skin was. We were always soothed when we could hold her hand, touch her arm, her face or her neck. She had the softest skin and the warmest touch. Thanks for taking me back to her, by sharing your stories from Sweden. My grandmother lived on Kauai.

Joanna said...

I, too, played with my grandmother's skin. I never pinched and counted, though! I loved rubbing the back of her hand. It's my fondest memory of her.

Joanna said...

PS: I bet your eyes sparkle a lot as well!

Anonymous said...

My own Gramma used to let me play with the jiggly upper arm thing that older ladies have.(shhh I now have it, but not like Gram)

Deborah said...

I was blessed to have known both my Grandmothers. I remember that they had fabulous skin. I remember their hands(sigh) :(