Thursday, February 21, 2013


Today, I've been residing in nostalgia-land.  Every once in awhile I relive my childhood by remembering the ordinary and extra-ordinary days of long ago.  I began to think of my granny who was a big influence in my life.

My granny became a widow in 1960.  Shortly afterwards, she moved in with us.  She and mom both got jobs in factories. Mom worked the day shift and granny worked the evening shift.  One of them was always home with us and my brother and I did not have to go to daycare.  (I have bad memories of day care ...)

This picture was taken towards the end of her stay with us.  She actually was only about 50 years old when she first moved in.

My granny was a wonder.  How did she do it?  How could she take care of kids during the day and then work all evening?  She worked physical labor at a factory despite having scoliosis.  In fact, factory work was always her occupation.  Her last job was at a factory downstate making automobile seats.  By that time, her scoliosis had made her look like a little hump-backed woman.  (I'm not saying anything that she didn't say about herself.)

We turned our dining room into her bedroom; therefore, she had little privacy whenever she tried to sleep.

Dad always worked weird shifts and was unpredictable as to when he would come home.  I'm sure she was awakened many times by him stalking through the house.

Despite being a hard worker, she was always a lot of fun.  She loved to play games with us, Bingo and the card game, "Authors," being her favorites.

Often my mom had to work on Saturdays when Granny might want to go to town.  She'd just order a taxi (she didn't drive), bundle my brother and I up, and head for the city streets.

We lived in a suburb of Chicago.  In those days, shopping malls were rare - so was Wal-mart and K-mart.  If you wanted to shop, you had to go up and down the city streets looking for different shops.  I have many memories of us doing just that.  I don't remember my brother having a stroller, either. I wouldn't have drug a little girl and a toddler boy around in and out of stores!

Our shopping days would end with a trip to the dime store.  We often were treated to little toys purchased there.  I do remember she bought me a little toy washing machine.  It was pink metal and was similar in size to a jack-in-the-box.  I had great plans to wash my doll's clothes in it.

Of course, we always picked up some bags of candy to eat later when we were playing Bingo.  Her favorite was the circus peanuts (a fluffy concoction shaped like a peanut).  Mine was the spearmint leaves and Tim wanted the orange slices.  (Those candies were like gumdrops)

One of the perks of having a steady job in those days was the ladies would have a "standing" appointment at the beauty shop and get their hair done every week.  Since granny was a shift-worker, she had to find someone with flexible hours.  She found Mrs. Pickles who worked out of her home and was willing to work with granny's schedule.  Soon granny was involved in their lives as well.  They would have little parties for their kids and granny (and therefore, we as well) would attend.

The most amazing thing about granny was that she would get involved in the lives of everyone she came across.  It wasn't long before she had just as many friends as she did in the little town she lived in before moving in with us.

It seemed you couldn't go anywhere without her running in to someone she knew.  And if not, she wasn't afraid to make small talk and find out if anyone was related to someone she knew.

I could write forever of all the fun things she did and said during my childhood,   She truly was a blessing in my life, my hard-working, fun-loving, involved-with-people Wonder-Granny!

Mama’s Losin’ It

This post was written in response to Writer's Workshop prompt  3.) Share an old picture of a parent or grandparent...who were they back then?  Want to read more?  Visit Kathy at her blog, Mama's Losin' It.


Being Tazim said...

I loved reading this - really great to hear about how special your granny was to you, and also about growing up in a Chicago suburb.

May said...

Our lives had so many overlaps. The orange slice candy, weekly standing hair appointments, tiny toy washing machines! You were city, I was country, but our time was the same.

Sandi said...