Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sharing a Memory -- Grandma C.

My dad's mother was widowed, and several years later she married another man who lived in the beautiful Heber Valley, so the family moved there.  After some time, Grandma became pregnant with my aunt, who, as it turned out, is only 6 years older than I am.  Grandpa built his sweet daughter a playhouse, complete with a dutch door, a "sofa" made from a car's bench seat, a small folding table, and various other wonders.

Much to the chagrin of the older children, the boy grandchildren were not welcome in the playhouse.  The girls, though?  Oh, the heaven of that wonderland!  There were baby dolls and baby carriages and purses and china dishes and a washing machine and laundry to fold.  It was glorious!  There were only a few of us girls, and most of them were much younger than I.  The next closest in age was 3 years my junior, but I loved it when both G and I could be at Grandma's at the same time.

My aunt and I were pretty good friends, too, in spite of the age difference. I suppose in many ways she was just putting up with me, but I sure loved to go spend several days at Grandma's!

Sometimes when we were playing in the playhouse, Grandma would come to the dutch door.  She always wore a house dress and an apron, but she'd come with lipstick on, and gloves on her hands, and her purse over her arm, and she would say, "Ding dong!  Avon calling!"  We'd let her into our little home, and she would open her magical purse and bring out something so incredibly mom-ish that it was all I could do not to squeal in delight.  Sometimes it was a bright red lipstick.  Sometimes it was perfume that we could "sample."  My favorite was when it was the Rose Milk.

Does anyone remember Rose Milk?  My grandma was a die-hard Lawrence Welk fan (to this day, LW reruns take me right back to the basement of my grandparents' Heber home--heavenly!), and she believed in everything they advertised.  Esoterica for her age spots, Geritol every day, and Rose Milk.  Grandma always had two bottles of lotion in the window by the sink:  the Jergen's was something we were welcome to use, but the Rose Milk was Grandma's alone.

So when our "Avon Lady" brought the Rose Milk, it was a special treat.  She would carefully remove her gloves, put a spot of Rose Milk on my hands, and carefully rub it in, all the while telling me about the special qualities of this marvelous product.

She would take our order and wish us a good day.  And then we didn't see Grandma again until she'd bring out lunch on a plate--sandwiches and a pitcher of water and usually some vegetables.  Sometimes she'd stand outside the Dutch door and "call" us on the telephone.  "Ring, ring!" she'd say, and we'd rush to answer the phone on the wall.  "Would you like your lunch in the big house or here?" she'd ask.

I once went into Victoria's Secret, and they had a rose lotion.  The moment I smelled it, the tears welled in my eyes as I longed for my grandma.  Why, when she was so ill and incapacitated, did I not think to rub lotion into her hands or spritz her with a "special" perfume or dab a bright red spot on her lips?  I don't know, but in our next life, that I one of the first things I want to do.