Sunday, June 7, 2009

Over the river and through the woods . . .

I was fortunate enough to grow up less than ten minutes away from all of my living grandparents. When I visited my dad's parents, my grandma would give us dishes of vanilla ice cream and then get out all of her sprinkles (maybe eight different varieties, including the little silver ball ones) and let us have at it. I fondly remember stirring the ice cream until I had a sort of sprinkle soup. My grandma and grandpa also had a highboy in their living room and in its top drawer, there were at least fifty coasters in various styles and colors. I don't remember what I did with the coasters, but it's thirty years later, and I'm still picturing them. One of my favorite activities was exploring the basement which was full (packed to the gills) of stuff of all kinds. I've always been a stuff magnet, and it was a joy to nose around. I also remember playing with my aunt's old Barbie dolls and the special chest that housed their clothes. Now that I'm writing that, I wonder if her daughters did the same thing years later. Under a storage chest in their bedroom, my grandparents had a stack of Sunday "funny papers" being saved to wrap presents. I remember spending an afternoon reading months and months worth of Cathy comics.

I also have special memories of visiting my mom's mom's house. I remember sitting on her astroturf-covered front porch, blowing bubbles and eating popsicles. I remember walking to King Kwik to buy fun dip and other treats. I remember playing Hi Ho Cheerio. I also remember the clothes line in the back yard and the birdbath. There was also easy access to Brach's pick-a-mix candy in my Grandma's television room. Finally, like all my cousins, I have fond memories of drinking cold water from her rolling pin (it was plastic, filled with water, and stored in the fridge). As I write this, I'm also remembering the corner cabinet with the drawer for playing cards, the specialty display shelf that housed her thimble collection, and opening the oven to fill a little brown bowl full of the snack mix stored inside a roasting pan. I also associate The Little Red Hen with my Grandma H--better to be industrious than lazy, you know.

At both houses, I also recall drinking pop--cool stuff like Orange Crush and Red Cream Soda--from glass bottles stored in hot, old-smelling garages.

Right now, our boys are not lucky enough to grow up near their grandparents. Though that means that they and their grandparents miss out on spending as much time together as everyone would like, it also means that visits to and from grandparents are all the more special.

Recently we visited grandparents two weekends in a row. It's fun to see Bub forming his own special traditions and routines for these visits.

At Grandma and Grandpa's, Bub enjoys making coffee in the morning with Grandma, investigating the "treasure box" to see what's been added, helping clean the table, eating and sharing chocolate chip cookies, and playing with daddy and Aunt Shell's Fisher Price Little People Farm and Hospital.

At Grammy and Pop's, Bub likes conning Pop into taking him to go buy munchkins, helping Grammy water the plants and flowers (with way more access to the hose than he gets at home), playing with the old toys of his mom and aunts and uncles and a "few" new ones that Grammy has picked up, and spinning tunes on a Sponge Bob boom box that Grammy bought at Big Lots.

Grandma and Grandpa live in a country subdivision in Indiana with a park and ponds. With Grandpa and Daddy's help, Bub caught his first fish (actually, his first four fish, NTB) last visit.

Grammy and Pop live near "downtown" Fairfield, OH, but as when visiting Indiana, the boys see more trees and grass than they do at home. From the screened in porch, Bub and Little Bit saw five deer (all together) in the yard of my parents' neighbors. These same deer eat my mom's roses, which kind of stinks, but Bub thought it was pretty neat to see them so close.

Many farms are passed on the routes to both sets of grandparents, and Bub likes to note silos and tractors as we pass. He has even, NTB, become adept at identifying tractors by brand based on the tractor's color. He continues to ask if there are purple or pink tractors. Anyone?

When visiting Ohio, Bub also loves doing absolutely anything that involves his beloved cousins who are lucky enough to live about twenty minutes from Grammy and Pop.

Cousins Fancy, Swiper, and Bub dressed in Pop's t-shirts after taking a bath in Grammy and Pop's tub. I have no explanation for their decision to eat fruit snacks out of orange cups and place those cups on their heads as I took the picture.

Cousins Wookie and Little Bit conked out at Kings Island.

Any memories to share from visits with your grandparents? Please share.

REMINDER: Fancy Hummus, Vodka Slush, Frijole-Mole . . . The recipes are starting to roll in for the NTB Dips and Sips Summer Recipe Drive. Please consider participating!


Anonymous said...

What is it about the bars in grandparents' basements? At my Grandma's house, we always played behind it. She had a huge clear plastic container full of matchbooks. She cooked things like mozzarella sticks in her fry daddy (something my mom would never do) and had a freezer full of Bon Bons. At my other grandparents' house they had a funky basement with a pool table, a bar with plastic icecubes, marionettes, and hula girls, and an electric fireplace. Awesome.

LAP said...

Well, my memories are somewhat similar given that we share grandparents. I will add that the paternal grandparents also had an assortment of carpet squares that I somehow always found entertaining to play with. The free for all bottled pop behind the bar is my favorite memory though. Well, and maybe reading dad's old report cards. At the other grandma's house, I loved a good game of rack-o, wiffle ball with the big red bat out back, and of course that candy bowl. Swiper just asked today if we could go see her at the nursing home and eat some of her candy.

Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of my grandmother. She took me to Bingo once and I learned then it was a no nonsense affair. She was a wonderful baker and as you walked in you could smell the yeast rolls aroma wafting through her old house. Even though I was one of thirty eight first cousins, I always felt like I was her favorite. My mother always took my kids and their cousins on a bus ride to downtown Hamilton, lunch at Elder Beerman and a bag of candy for their birthday. m

Steph said...

Congrats to the might fishermen! I grew up over the creek and throug the woods from Grandma and Grandpa P. I was a very, very lucky girl. I ran wildly between their home and mine. So many adventures in the in-between, and so many yummy treats at Grandma's!

Amy said...

I grew up a block from my maternal grandparents and remember the smell of my grandma's homemade tortillas. She made the best over easy eggs around-I still haven't been able to perfect them. She had a chest of drawers that had all kinds of fun stuff for girls (make-up, ribbons, jewelry). I loved just looking through it and also the closet where all the photo albums were kept with all the old pictures.
My paternal grandparents live(d)in Illinois and so I usually saw them only over the summer, but as a TX girl I remember loving the basement (we don't have those in TX). My grandpa kept his workshop down there and I loved going down there and just smelling the wood of whatever project he was working on. Upstairs I loved doing puzzles with my grandma as she baked Swedish bread and percolated coffee or had friends over for lunch (I thought that was very cool too). Thanks for reminding me of all the good memories MEP!

CaraBee said...

Unfortunately I didn't grow up close to my grandparents. We were a couple of hours away from each set. However, in the summers, we would spend a week or two with my dad's parents. My grandmother was an artist, so she had her art room that had easels for painting and a table for clay work. She would always work with us to make clay creations and let us paint our masterpieces. She actually did a bust of me when I was 10 or so that my dad has.

They also had a storage room where all of my dad and his brothers' old toys and stuff were. Among other things were their skate boards that were the real deal: metal skates screwed onto boards. We would ride those down their steep driveway. How we didn't break our necks is beyond me.

Gosh, there just isn't space to share all of my wonderful childhood memories with my grandparents. I hope my child(ren) will have memories just as wonderful of their own.

cake said...

i remember eating fun dip one time, as a child, and throwing up. never really wanted fun dip after that.

i loved reading your memories about visiting grandparents. my grandma turned me on to gardening and collecting lots of junk. she had the most wonderful stuff in the world down in her basement.

Christopher Regan said...

My grandparents house was so old, it had a system as though there would be servants. Most rooms had a button you could press that would make buzzers ring in the kitchen. Since there were no servants, this annoyed the crap out of my parents and grandparents when we would press them all at once. Even better, some of them would stick, and the buzzing then could not be stopped for a long time.

There was also a vicious dog that only liked my dad's dad and no one else. I got near him while he was eating once and he took a decent chunk out of my face. Lesson learned there.


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