Sunday, May 26, 2013
My dad’s mother was named Euella, but we called her Grama Louie. I was a tiny bit frightened of her, but mostly thought she was the best person around. On nights when I have trouble falling asleep, I mentally walk through Gram’s house, rather than counting sheep. She lived in an older three story house. It had a scary concrete basement, basic rooms on the ground floor, and three large bedrooms on the top floor. The closets in these rooms had smaller closets behind them. That totally creeped me out. One night, my sister Mickey and I heard something in the closet slide down the wall and land on the floor with a thump. My immediate reaction was to whisper “A BODY!”. I’m not sure why I thought Gram was hiding a body in the closet, but it seemed to make sense to me. I think we stared at the closet door until we fell asleep. In the morning, we looked in the closet and found a clothing bag on the floor. Sheesh! Grama Louie was my mom’s default babysitter, so we spent many a night there. She had some flannel nightgowns that had belonged to her mother. A few times she let me wear one to bed. It was white and had little purple flowers on it. We always wore pajamas, so sleeping in a long nightgown seemed ever-so-elegant. It was too big, but I felt like a princess. When we were supposed to be napping, and of course wouldn’t be tired, Gram would check on us. One time she stood next to our beds and watched us until we started laughing. Acting like we were sound asleep hadn’t fooled her. We were probably fake snoring. Mickey and I figured out which stairs squeaked, and thought we could sneak downstairs without making a sound. I’m sure Grama Louie was far more savvy than we expected. She probably heard every squeak we thought we had squelched. She acted stern, but I’ll bet she was amused. Gram was an excellent cook. Everything she served was exquisite, except maybe beets. Gram always used linen napkins, so there was no way to hide the beets in them on a surreptitious visit to the bathroom. I’m not sure if anyone inherited Gram’s cooking genes. Certainly not I. But she left me with great memories that make me smile, and smack my lips.