I wrote this when my daughter was born. Her close relationship with her Grandma Kay had got me thinking of early memories with my mom's mom, Granny Peg.
The speckled black linoleum floor in Peg’s bedroom creaked when you walked on it. Her fluffy bed was low to the chilly floor, fixed neatly but appearing soft and inviting. Her dressing table had a crackled mirror finish and was a display of treasures to be examined, crystal bottles with rubber ball pumps, bright red lipsticks in gold cases and beige face powder. Her whole room smelled faintly of what she did--- Elizabeth Arden face powder mixed with Estee Lauder Youth Dew.
Off her bedroom was an enclosed porch. When you opened the door leading out to it, the bitter cold Chicago air would bite as the noisy Venetian blinds on the door's window clattered, like wooden wind chimes. There was a mushy blanketed bed out there too, but I don’t remember anyone ever sleeping on it, probably because the room wasn’t heated. I do remember jumping on that fluffy bed for fun and to keep my feet warm, while my grandma, in her furry slippers, explored the many treasures she had in cabinets and boxes.
Overnights at Peg’s were always ritualistic preparations and relaxation, getting ready, for the next day’s jaunt---a trip on the city bus or the train to downtown Chicago and upscale Michigan Avenue. Nivea in the blue jar and clean white linens would wipe the dirt from our then ivory countenances and look--- we could see the dirt on the cloth, no soap or water on our faces.
After getting us ready for bed, Peg would 'prop us up' in front of the ‘tube’ for the evening --- with a box (a whole box) of Fannie May Mint Meltaways or Assorteds. She would then make sure we were as comfortable as human creatures could be, making several trips to the kitchen, shuffling through the house in her chenille robe and furry slippers, coming back each time with a new goody. Granny Peg hated television commercials. “Oh, I can’t’ bear to look she would say. Close your eyes and think of something else.” One in particular that was most offensive to her was kids stuffing bunches of Fig Bars into their mouths. Jean and I thought this was terrifically funny, that is our grandma’s reactions to the commercial breaks.
What I remember most about these times with Peg is that she made a big deal over us.