Today was one of those hot and humid days that often reminds me of long summers off of school and spending time at my grandma’s. I grew up in the country out on a 100 acre farm where my mom had lived out her childhood. Her parents lived down the road in a house that used to be a cottage on the lake. When my grandparents had married they bought the cottage and moved it to its current location. Needless to say, we didn’t have air conditioning in old farmhouses or old cottages. When it was so hot that you didn’t want to move my grandma would lay a sheet on the floor underneath the ceiling fan in her living room for us kids to lay on. I can remember laying on that cool sheet, in the darkened living room, watching out the front door as the breeze from the fan softly blew against me.
Thinking about my grandma makes me feel sad. I loved her so much and then she turned psycho. She’s one of those people who aren’t happy unless others are miserable. Usually it’s because she’s the one making them miserable. Yet, I couldn’t exactly see this as a child. To me she was my beloved grandmother who gave me rhinestone jewelry that she bought at lawn sales (and would later remove it from my jewelry box when we weren’t home). She let me mow her lawn using the riding mower when I was 8 and paid me in popsicles. Every June for my birthday she would make sure that I received the first bloom out of her rose garden (she had a very green thumb). When I needed somebody to talk to, she usually had an ear for me.
This is the same grandmother who once told my mom that she was a poor excuse for a mother and that the welfare people she knew dressed their kids better. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up. My dad was a farmer who also worked either second or third shift at a factory. My mom stayed home with us kids because with Chrissy’s problems it was better for us. It was a very stressful and depressing time for my mom, but she did the best that she could. Heck, she did VERY well. I wasn’t very old when my grandma was reading my mom the riot act, but when she left my mom said that I hugged her and said, “Mommy, you’re a very good mommy! Don’t listen to grandma.” This is the same grandmother who had an eviction notice served to her own daughter when she knew that the house that we had bought didn’t have any heat in it. It was late October and she was evicting her daughter and granddaughters (including a mentally retarded granddaughter) out into the cold. My grandmother is still alive, but I haven’t talked to her in almost fifteen years. She caused a major rift in the family and refused to do anything about it. She caused my mom’s siblings to turn against us, including my mom. At one point my mom told her that if she didn’t fix this that my dad wouldn’t let her attend Chrissy’s funeral if anything should happen to her. Grandma said that she didn’t care. My mom pointed out that my dad wouldn’t let her see us kids. My beloved grandma, the one who gave me roses and helped to pay for my very first piano, turned to my mom and said that she didn’t care. When I learned about that my heart broke. Like I’ve pointed out before, once you say something and it’s out there you can’t take it back. Ever.
Yes, they are somewhat sad memories, but they have helped to shape me into the person that I am today. I wouldn’t change what happened because it really taught me some lessons, and especially reinforced a lot of things that my mother had always tried teaching to us girls. In some ways it brought my sister, parents, and I closer together. To everything there is a purpose. You may not know what that purpose is when you are slogging through the mud in your path, but eventually you will be able to look back and figure it out. When things are not going well just keep going because you will come out of it a better person.