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Family Talk

June 2, 2008

My grandparents, Nannie and Pop Pop, are 92 and 93 years old.  They live alone still and are amazingly healthy!  Their age alone impresses me, I am getting squeamish about 30 and they are 60 years older than me.   They lived most their lives in the northeast, an area of the country that only exists to me in family stories and movies.  I have always longed to live off the coast of Maine or in a New York suburb but instead I am pretty well grounded in the humidity and flat landscape known as Texas.  There is something so romantic about fresh lobster seaside at a B&B, I imagine myself wrapped in a cream colored cable knit sweater reading one of the classics.  Anyhow, they lived the typical upper middle class lifestyle that was prevalent at that time.  They raised their two boys with home cooked meals, Boy Scout camping trips, pool parties and very distinct lines between adult life and child life.  These were the days of cocktail hour (every night) and country clubs specifically meant for socializing (not just a round of golf once a month and maybe some tennis).  Status was everything, and it couldn’t be defined by just dollars in the bank it was all about the lifestyle.

My grandmother is a classic beauty.  Even at 92 she still stands tall, slender and confident at 5’11.  Her hair is a natural silver color and it compliments her lightly tanned skin.  My brown eyes resemble hers but unlike me she can and has gotten away with not a stitch of makeup for many years.  Her overall look is classic, like an LL Bean print add.  Since I can remember she has lived in a uniform of khaki pants (shorts for the summer) and a chambray men’s dress shirt.  As a child I thought this was a bit boring but as an adult I admire her and there are days when I attempt to emulate.  There is a portrait of her that has hung on their wall for over 20 years.  She is looking over her shoulder and is draped in a red off the shoulder top (probably a gown).  Her hair is jet black and her eyes, although not quite as dark, are like pools of dark chocolate (yum!).  This is and was by far the most glamorous painting I have ever seen.  It made me think about what she was like before she was my grandmother and my father’s mother.   But her glamour is only second to her resourcefulness.  Being 5’11 in 1945 apparently presented some wardrobe challenges so she learned to sew, and not just simple day time dresses.  She has shown me, through the years, elaborate floor length ball gowns that she fastened from scratch.  This, to me, is amazing.  I am lucky to get a button on successfully and you dare not look at the inside of the blouse when I am done, it is a rat’s nest of thread and beginner’s knots.   She even sewed designer gowns for my Barbies and baby clothes for my Cabbage Patch dolls.

Aside from the sewing, gourmet cooking, impeccable northern education and overall class and sophistication she is and was just a regular grandma –minus the homemade sweatshirts stating “I love my Grandchildren!”  She wouldn’t even consider donning one of these tacky things.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Cindy permalink
    June 9, 2008 12:41 am

    Thank you for painting such a wonderful picture of Nannie. I see her in a totally different light now. Your mother would have loved this. I love it!

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