The white and permed hair of an elderly woman caught my eye. This type of style, that is “set” weekly, is fairly common among woman of her generation. I asked my dinner companion if she would wear her hair in that style when she becomes elderly. Surprisingly, she said she would. I thought she would be a part of a very small group.
I have many fond memories of my maternal grandmother. She was a hard working woman who baked in a wood burning stove, resulting in the softest breads and the sweetest cinnamon buns. Salivating from the aromas coming from her tiny kitchen, my siblings and I waited patiently for the goods. With an overabundance of food, each meal was special and tasted beyond delicious. She made her own jams and preserves and froze fresh vegetables from her garden. Without running water, she manage a tidy, lovely home. She walked daily to the village pump and raised three children and then later tended to numerous grandchildren over the summer. Every noon, my grandmother would bring my grandfather his fresh and nutritious lunch as he “worked the fields”.
While carrying on with her daily activities, she would wear what is commonly known as house dress. A simple cotton dress, with buttons up the front, that allowed the summer breeze to pass through comfortably. Her eyes would twinkle when she smiled openly. At times she pretended to be stern, telling us to get out of her way and giving us small tasks to keep from getting under foot. We would run in and out of her small porch, to sip water from the white, metal ladle dipped in the bucket of ice cold well water. I can smell my childhood years at my grandmothers. I can feel the heat in the summer air, hear the birds in the background, and taste the dust, as the occasional truck passed on the road. I can feel her presence. I miss her at this moment.
She was a proud woman and a very attractive woman who cared for her appearance discreetly and with little fuss. I am not sure if she had natural curls or waves brown hair or if she permed her hair regularly. I do recall with warm feelings, her small curls bobby pinned just in front of her ears. When she removed the pins, and if the curls were not to her liking, she would use a small piece of clear tape to keep the curls tight, until they held their shape to her standards.
Did she know she was making lasting impressions as she went about her routines each day? Impressions that would etch deeply in my memories?
With every generation passing, the next generation moves up the ladder, waiting on the top rung till they too take flight to the after life, leaving behind an impression. My siblings and friends are probably three to four rungs from the top. With each generation, a little something is lost, never to return again.
I remember my maternal grandmother……..
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