A little trip down memory lane for day ten of #Janblogaday.
My great-grandma Jane was the epitome of elegance — she wore dark velvet dresses with shoulder pads and beautiful antique jewelry that glimmered like her eyes. She always had a knitted afghan shawl draped around her slouchy and slim 90-year-old frame. Her cheek bones were distinct and held high; gravity and time were not as kind to her cheek skin but even still her warm smile was in tact. Her lips were always coloured red and she walked in heels wobbly knees and all. She was my definition of old classy like Meryl Streep. And she had a quiet voice but one you’d never forget, especially if she were telling you a story.
She used to tell us stories of when she was younger — I’m not sure how old, maybe late 20s or 30s — when she used to work at Prange’s in her hometown in Michigan (where dad was born). Great-grandma Jane made an impression everywhere she went so it was unsurprising that here, at the department store, she had left her own sort of legacy when she moved onto another job/town. But every time she came home and stopped by, someone would get on the store intercom and yell, “Jane’s in town.” And everyone would come out to say hi to her. If the number of people who love you are any indication of royalty, she was a princess in that town.
I remember one time we were at Izzy’s Pizza down by Fred Meyer with all my cousins and aunts and uncles — it was someone’s birthday. Grandma Jane was there… and she used to order the largest thing on the menu and when it would arrive, the waiter would set it down in front of her and she’d say, “Oh my! That could feed two men and a cow.” She had sayings like these that were only hers and if only I had written every one of them down…
Another time Grandma Jane was staying at our house while she was in town; because I had the bigger, nicer bed than my four-year-old sister and because Grandma shouldn’t have to sleep in my 10-year-old brother’s room, she got my bedroom — my beautifully neat, organised, colour-coordinated bedroom with my trundle bed and floral patterned sheets. For some reason I was a little resentful that Grandma could swoop in with her dangly earrings and panty hose and take my room. I had to share with my sister now just because Grandma gets everything she wants 🙂 This must have been before I learned manners and just after I learned the idea of revenge (a concept that can be seriously mistaken by young children).
I remember I could hear Grandma and mom chatting in the kitchen. Dad wasn’t home yet from work and my brother was probably at the neighbours, sister was probably eating candy in her room (she used to eat a lot of candy). The situation was screaming ideal so I really had no choice but to sneak into my/Grandma’s room and stroll around. Just see what I see.
Grandma’s suitcase hung open… and I don’t remember every detail of this next part but I can only guess that I did some rummaging around (looking through someone else’s stuff is not a trait I carried with me in age, rest assured). I remember finding her silk nightgown, it was purple with a little design on the top, long with sleeves. I must have pocketed it or something, hid it somewhere sneaky that I can’t even remember where now because I was that good.
Several weeks after Grandma had stayed with us Grandma Penny told mom that Grandma Jane had lost her nightgown and was wondering if we’d seen it. Of course, we haven’t seen it.
Because I was a child with outstanding intellect but apparently no logic, I thought now was the best time to play dress up. I don’t recall any of this part of the story but mom says she was in her room folding clothes and I came bolting through the hallway like lightning, purple lightning. Peculiar since I was more of a red kind of girl so mom stepped out of her room and found me stripped down in nothing but Grandma Jane’s nightgown.
Like five years later after Grandma Jane had passed away and we were at family Christmas, Grandma Penny got me a silk blanket from one of her trips to Asia or Europe or something… because she knew how much I loved silk. Seriously, I loved silk so much that I ‘saved’ Grandma Jane’s nightgown so I could wear it. Christmas and birthday gifts in silk lasted at least another five years.
And I do like silk. It’s a lovely material. But I actually took Grandma’s nightgown because she took my room 🙂
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More from #Janblogaday: Day 1: New… year, new resolution. Day 2: Two… things you should never say to your partner. Day 3: Bucket list… of (some un)realistic wishes. Day 4: Pet peeve… fountains are not the new jungle gym. Day 5: Fear not, even if I am a little crazy. Day 6: Embarrassment: Lindsey – 1, Dad – 4. Day 7: The shoe horoscope. Day 8: A little honesty. Day 9: Made with love: Wintery Instagram jam. Tomorrow – Day 11: A husband confession.
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