Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Enter (02/27/06)
TITLE: ENTER MY MEMORIES
By ROBLYN R SCHWARTZ
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Bedecked in her favorite aqua dress with multi strands of pearls adorning her neck, Emma’s presence brought a sense of joy. Her once brown hair, now lightened by age, encircled her head like a braided crown. Emma’s appearance, voice and demeanor reflected a southern lady.
Emma Siebe Rollings co-owned a jewelry store with her son Robert, my father. She surrounded herself with fine china, cut crystal and sterling silver flatware and hollowware along with diamonds and l4 carat jewelry. Simply stated, Emma loved beautiful things.
Her dignified manner covered a fun loving heart. At her insistence, I called her Pudgie, not Grandma, a name she associated with old age. Pudgie drove a red l957 Chevy convertible. Its white canvas top remained in the down position as long as the weather permitted. Doting on my friends and me, Pudgie allowed us to ride sitting on top of the backseat parade-style as she drove us around Hattiesburg.
Wonderful memories of my grandmother center around her spacious three bedroom home at 5l8 Rebecca Avenue. Widowed before my birth, Emma shared her home with Jewel Montgomery who taught third grade at nearby Walthall School.
When Uncle Harry’s six children arrived from Savannah, GA, to visit, Emma’s countenance absolutely glowed. She’d spent hours planning ways to entertain her grandchildren. First Pudgie stocked her refrigerator and asked Rose, her special occasion cook, to prepare lemon icebox pies. Next Pudgie got her house in order: the bunk bed sheets on the sun porch were changed; the mahogany doll size furniture was dusted and polished; board games and books awaited the children’s arrival.
As the Georgia station wagon rumbled down Rebecca Avenue, Pudgie, Aunt Jewel, and I ran to greet Cynthia, Carol, Pamela, Janet, Robert, Ellen and Aunt Irma Lee. Irma Lee had driven all night while her children slept. As the children invaded their Grandmother’s house, noisy activities replaced the peace and calm. Checkers clinked, marbles rolled and cards were shuffled as we played on the front porch. Our favorite game was playing wedding. We had enough people to serve as bride, groom, minister, bridesmaids and groomsmen. Outside our voices rose as we played chase, hide and seek and red rover. We spent hours playing in the concrete culvert. Then the cousins cooled off in the backyard pool our fathers and the neighborhood kids dug years earlier.
For breakfast each morning, Pudgie cooked her special French toast. Dipped in beaten eggs, the bread was fried in real butter and dredged in granulated sugar. It took several loaves of Sunbeam Bread to fill up seven hungry children. At lunch, Pudgie loaded us into her Chevy and headed to the Choctaw Drive In. There we feasted on mouth watering ribs, bar-b-que pork sandwiches, beans and home cut French fries. Our grandmother allowed us to order whatever we wanted from the menu unlike our conservative parents. Now I am a first time Grandmother enjoying l0 month old Jack. Jack lives only fifteen minutes from our house so his PaPa and I see him often. Thursday has become my favorite weekday because I keep Jack all morning. As his mother Elizabeth brings Jack inside, he lights up with a smile knowing he’s at NaNa’s house. Jack makes a bee line for his bedroom. Crawling to the louvered closet doors, he entertains himself by repeatedly opening and closing them. Then the 11 month old pulls himself up behind his walking toy and grins as he races across the floor. He’s not yet confident in the walking alone department. Each Saturday when PaPa is home for the weekend, we pick up lunch and go visit Scott, Elizabeth and Jack. Our grandson glories in showing PaPa John his latest accomplishments. Jack repeats “Bye, bye, bye “over and over again. He also shakes his blond head from side to side and expects the adults to join in the head shaking game. Jack’s NaNa dresses in comfortable blue jeans, matching blouses and tennis shoes with only a watch and my wedding rings. Instead of a jewelry store, John and I surround ourselves with furnishing acquired over 37 years of married life. My 2004 Lincoln Town car is equipped with a car seat for my grandson. I approach being a grandmother somewhat differently from my grandmother Emma because our personalities are unique. Both Emma and I share a great love for our grandchildren. As Emma has entered my childhood memories, I pray I am building a special relationship which will enter Jack’s treasured memories.
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