Old friends

I caught up with an old friend tonight. You know, one of those friends you don’t talk to for five years, but you fall in as though it were yesterday you last heard their voice.

This lady and I have a long and illustrious history. She was the first person I ever hero-worshipped. You see, she lived in the apartment above my Grandmother’s house, on the blueberry farm. When we met, she was 21, and I was a baby. Some of my earliest memories are of sneaking into her apartment to look at the dolls that decorated her dresser. And I don’t remember this, but she says I used to ring her doorbell stark naked, and when she answered it, say “Hi! Can you come out to play?” Sounds about right.

She lived in the apartment for 20 years, and was like another daughter to my grandparents. But unbeknownst to me, the relationship didn’t start out all sweetness and roses. The couple who rented the apartment before her fought- the wife beat the husband with frying pans, and tried to throw him out the window. (Oh lord, how I laughed as I tried to envision that. Wrong, I know.)

So when my friend’s Aunt Rachel brought her to my grandmother, she examined her with a skeptical eye and said, “No, thanks. We don’t need another wild young thing.”

“She’s not wild!” Aunt Rachel said. “She goes to church on Sunday, she’s a good girl.”

“No, too young.” said my Grandmother, shaking her head.

“I’ll give you double the money,” Aunt Rachel said. But for some reason, my Grandmother was adamantly opposed to this lovely gingerhead moving into the apartment. But then Aunt Rachel spied a hole in my Grandmother’s defenses.

“Why, Mrs. Lindsay! You’re re-decorating! I have exactly the mirror for that spot!”

“How much would you want?” My grandmother asked.

“Oh, no, don’t be silly! We’ll bring it by next weekend.” And they did, and furniture was being moved in by the following Monday. My friend tells of how she looked at that mirror on the wall in the kitchen for the next twenty years. When my grandmother passed away six years ago, she got the mirror back. Now it’s back in the house where it came from, in Pennsylvania. 150 years old.

Time. Time is such a strange, malleable beast and yet so intransigent in its ways. I hear this friend’s voice, and I remember being two, and reveling in her attention. Now we both have boys that are the same age, and we talk about middle school stuff.

But most of all, we talk about my grandmother, about how much we love her, even though she’s been technically gone for years. My friend runs a store in her town, where kids who don’t have money for clothes can come and take what they need for free. Sizes 2-14, and 300 prom dresses last year. All to help people move through their world more comfortably.

My Grandmother ran a similar program for years, a drive where every Fall new coats would be collected for children who would otherwise be cold. She was fierce in her determination that no child should go to school shivering. My friend didn’t know about that side of my grandmother. But the other day, someone said to her, “Your store reminds me of Mrs. Lindsay. Did you know Mrs. Lindsay?”

“Did I KNOW her? She was like a mother to me.”

And it made me so happy to hear that people are still talking about my Grandmother, even after she’s been gone this long. My neighbor always says, “From my lips to God’s ears!” I like to think of my Grandmother in heaven, hearing us miss her and being proud of her. And carrying on the things she loved, without even knowing it.

Even the rowdy gingerhead.;)

 
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Comments (12)

  1. Sarah @ Ordinary Days Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    What a beautiful story. It would make a great movie! Write more stories about your grandma and your friend when you think of them, k?
  2. Stacy Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    I really like this story. Well told. Amazing characters. You should expand on this story ... Stacy’s last blog post..Traverse me to the wine, please
  3. deb on the rocks Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    Gorgeous. I had a wildly loved Grandma, and I hope to be one some day! Not any time soon, though.....please Lawd.
  4. acorndreaming Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    The great thing about blogging is now I know a little of Mrs. Lindsay and your friend. . . this was a wonderful slice of life. Thanks. acorndreaming’s last blog post..My Virtual Marriage
  5. emilythemom Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    That is such a great and inspiring story. I love when things come full circle like that in life, it's stuff like that just proves that there's a higher power at work.... emilythemom’s last blog post..Ground Control
  6. amanda Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    This was very sweet. amanda’s last blog post..Don't, k?
  7. Issa Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    People talk about my grandpa that way. When someone is a great person, it's nice when they are remembered. Issa’s last blog post..One month...
  8. Brenda - SeriouslyMama Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    I loved this post! Both of my Grandmothers were amazing women. Very different yet they shared very similiar qualities. Now that I am a mother, I would give anything to have a few more minutes with them. Brenda - SeriouslyMama’s last blog post..I need a Paranormal Evacuation, stat!
  9. Casey Tuesday - 28 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    That was such a great story. I'm glad you have someone in your life to remind you of your grandmother, that must be great! Casey’s last blog post..The Day The Music Died
  10. anna see Wednesday - 29 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    This is such a neat story. I love how people still talk about my mom even though she died 20 years ago at age 46. anna see’s last blog post..Thank You For Not Commenting
  11. rockrollmama Thursday - 30 / 10 / 2008 Reply
    Thank so much, you guys! It made me so happy to remember my Grandmother out loud, and to hear stories of your women icons. I think we all carry pieces of them in us. It makes me feel strong to think of all the women that went before. Thanks for being here. )
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