My dad's mom was stupendous. I loved going to her house. I have so many memories of playing there with my sister--things like shutting all the doors in her L shaped hallway and bouncing superballs. Those wood floors were so shiny. Or setting up elaborate farms using Legos.
Many of my favorite memories are from times when I went there by myself to stay the night. I felt so special, because she'd lead me to the spare bedroom that she had set up. She'd put my suitcase in the closet while I noticed that she'd put out a new air freshener on the dresser.
She would color with me. She had a great selection of coloring books. She called crayons crins and she colored in a circular motion. I liked to sit and color on her window seat with the plant.
I followed her around while she did her chores. Her house was always immaculate, but still very cozy and livable. She swept up the big black flies that had fallen to the floor. She set out the daily newspaper with the comics separate, for people to read when they came over.
Because she cooked lunch (but called it dinner) every day, for anyone who wanted to come. People always came. My dad, my uncle, various cousins and their spouses, farm hands. She was the queen of side dishes. Each lunch would have one or two main courses and a lot of sides. We're talking mashed potatoes, noodles, corn, green beans, sliced tomatoes, and rolls. For one lunch.
But back to spending the night. She would let me stay up as late as I wanted, which was never as late as her. I would ask her, "Grandma, how late are you going to stay up?" She'd say, "Oh, probably until about 11:00." I asked her when she got up and told me that it was usually around 5:00 a.m. "You don't need as much sleep when you get old."
In the morning, I would wake up to the sound of her shoes walking around the kitchen. She always wore shoes, even in the house. The best thing about breakfast was the Tang. She'd make me a big glass of Tang, and some bacon and eggs. It felt kind of strange to be the only two people at her very long dining table. She always had a banana, and a slew of medications.
While she did her housework, we'd watch The Price is Right and Days of Our Lives. I'd sneak Reese's peanut butter cups from the fridge and eat them, but not in her front room with the white carpet. Except I didn't really have to sneak them, she would have let me have as many as I wanted.
As I got older, I didn't spend the night anymore. But I did go to her house when the rest of my family went to the high school basketball games. I didn't have much interest in sports. Still don't. She and I would play Rook or Uno at that long table. We laughed so much.
I miss her. She died when I was about 5 months pregnant with Bee. I so wish she could have met my kids, and that they could have played in her house, and drank her Tang.