Recently, my maternal grandmother Delores turned 80.
I'm not even sure I want to live that long
...unless I can be as spunky and busy as she is!
This is Mamaw with her four kids.
My mom, and my uncles Mike, Tom, and Tim.
These are her siblings.
Great-Aunt Peg, Mamaw, and Great-Uncle Deb
And these are most of her grandkids (minus spouses) and great-grandkids, but not all of them.
I won't put you through the agony of trying to match faces with names.
Except for that little brown cutie with the orange flowered dress in the front row.
I'm partial to her.
Growing up, I didn't see as much of Mamaw as I did my dad's folks. It seemed a rare occasion that we got to go and spend the night with her and Papaw Runyan on their farm in Waynetown. But there are some things about those times that stick in my mind...
Mamaw had a breakfast nook. And when I say nook, I mean small. Even to me as a child, it seemed small and cozy in comparison to her more formal dining set. But I loved it in there. There were little windows up at the top of the wall, interesting knick-knacks to look at, and she always got Froot Loops for us to have for breakfast. I also remember following her through the grocery store as we went to get that forbidden cereal. She walked so fast that I had to practically trot to keep up with her. Till this day, I have not figured out how her short legs could go places so quickly!
There were lots and LOTS of barn cats at Mamaw's house. I remember a dog, I think, but I definately remember tons of cats. I loved it. I also liked watching Mamaw pour food and water into big bowls and giggle as all the cats sauntered up, rubbing her legs and meowing. We had cats too, but not that many all at one time. I'm guessing she never had a problem with mice!
We played upstairs at Mamaw and Papaw's house. There was a large loft-like area with a bed and toys, and one bedroom that was separate. I don't remember all of the toys up there. I'm sure they were your regular old-fashioned wood and metal toys. But there was one toy I especially liked. I think the best thing to call it was an electric organ. It wasn't what we think of as a keyboard that is commonly in use now. It made this funky sound and it had knobs to adjust things on it. Another thing I was fascinated by were her lava lamps. I can remember lying in bed, looking at the lighted lava blobs floating up and down, lulling me to sleep.
There was a bathroom upstairs that was unique. For one, it had a window that was nearly floor to ceiling. I'm pretty sure the upstairs was a finished attic, because the walls slanted inward. Anyway, this made the shower quite interesting. I remember that by the time I was ten or twelve, it could be a little awkward, but it was fun, because it was different. There were blood red bath mats, one in front of the tub, and one in front of the toilet. I'll never forget those, because the mat around the toilet was shaped like giant feet. I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
Mamaw and Papaw had lots of land, with plenty of room to run, fields for boundaries, a huge metal pole barn with lots of tractors and tools in it, and the forbidden well. There was a colapsed wellhouse, and I'm pretty sure she told us every time we went there that we should never, never, never go close to it. I was horribly curious and wanted to explore, but my very vivid imagination could also imagine wasting away from hunger at the bottom of the well if I went in there, because it would take Mamaw at least until lunch to figure out I was down there.
Since they had such a big yard, Mamaw did a lot of mowing. In a tube top. I remember as a child being almost horrified that someone would wear what was essentially a bra in public (you know, in the middle of countless acres of corn and soybeans). But she didn't have tan lines on her shoulders that way!
As I grew older, my times with Mamaw changed. Papaw passed away, she sold the farm house, and moved into a condo. We spent a lot of lunches at Taco Bell, talking. I felt like I could tell her all the troubles of my teenage and young adult heart. To my knowledge, those "secrets" have never passed her lips.
It was really neat to be there for the celebration of her 80th birthday. We had people from three states there, and a great dinner at Hollyhock Hills restaurant. Then we came back to a local banquet room and held a surprise reception. Mamaw was in her glory. Her face was just beaming. Granted, she's had some health issues, so she's slowed down from the speed-walking, tube-top mowing Mamaw of my youth.
But now she moves more at my speed, and that's just fine with me!