Friday, October 31, 2014
More than enough
On Wednesday, my family gathered together for my grandmother's funeral. She had been 90 years old, and was living on her own with her beloved cats - which were named after characters in Pride and Prejudice - until just two weeks before.
My house contains more physical representations of my grandmother than almost anyone else. She's in the handmade braided and vestimade rugs, and in the Waterford wedding gifts she bestowed upon Peter and me four years ago, and in the Christmas ornaments she gave my sister and me each year.
It's seems fitting that I see her all over the house, because more than anyone else, she reveled in all things home. She could endlessly examine a house, soaking in each detail. Every inch of her own home was decorated with things she loved. She had boxes of meticulously organized holiday decorations that came out every year, and she's the reason my mom, sister, and I have a village and a full set of carolers.
My sister and I spent lots of time with my grandparents growing up, with a few afternoons a week during the school year, and a few days each week during the summer. For lunch, she made the kinds of foods that kids love - spaghetti with lots of butter and salt, macaroni and cheese with Velveeta (and always a side of cranberry sauce, for some reason), and individual tubs of Friendly's ice cream sundaes.
She loved shopping, and was a world-class bargain hunter. She had an amazing ability to remember the exact price of all the best deals she scored - a trait I certainly inherited. She could look at a mahogany headboard and say that she bought it sixteen years ago at a tag sale on Cooley Street for $10, but she'd talked them down from $15.
She saved and saved her whole life, but she and my grandpa always made it a priority to take vacations and go out to eat occasionally. They would go to South Carolina for the winter when I was growing up, and we loved visiting their condo over February vacations.
We never did that much with them, but the days felt full. Dressing up, playing with dolls, feeding the birds, watching old movies, taking a walk around the block. Sometimes we played cards or asked the Ouiji board questions about our future husbands, but she also took naps, did crossword puzzles, and watched Meet the Press. She didn't feel that they had to entertain us, and it served us well.
Being in her orbit was more than enough.