Sunday, February 14, 2016

Grandma's Sweater



This morning's awakening thoughts pondered on what to wear to church. I knew the basic was a red turtle neck and tan pants, since I wore the charcoal ones over the weekend with a red sweater. A beige sweater would complement the outfit for this cold day, but I wished I had Grandma's sweater. Mary     Ellen commandeered it and made it her  own.

Also six weeks post op
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Grandma's sweater. I chuckled a bit. I don't remember Grandma ever wearing it. I believe we found it on a cloyingly hot summer's day in the upstairs of her old house, most likely still in the plastic. Some one gave it to her and like her gifts, she kept them for later, a day she may need them. She had night gowns and house coats waiting in case she would go to the hospital.
On that day, after she died and we were cleaning out her house, which had been Uncle Bill's, and briefly Andrea's, then my mom's, I climbed the enclosed stairs I hadn't been up since my early childhood. Humidity and heat rose with me without any air conditioning in August. I found the job of searching through the cedar chest. A thick braid of hair, now faded, lay there with dust. Mom remarked, “Oh, that's from when she bobbed her hair. Don't you want it, Mollie? She really had the most beautiful blond hair.”
I shuddered, “Dead hair? No way.”
So I think Grandma's sweater came down to me from that day. A pearl knit serviceable white, most likely rayon, with white plastic buttons., not stylish or pretty in a fancy way, provided a dense warmth. Hanging down, it wrapped around me in comfort, because it was from Grandma's. Truly the only thing that made it special was saying, it was my grandmother's. Plus the warmth made it a favorite.
I thought of that sweater this frigid morning. Wondering where it was. Probably in Mary Ellen's room. She had it on the other day. The buttons fell off or were taken off. She replaced the top one with an ornate gold button and left the rest of it buttonless. She loves it because of the warmth.
Years later in my home health travels, I parked in front of the garage Grandma rented to the Westinghouse worker. Dad always careful to not block the renter in, as Mom reminded him every time.
Westinghouse left. New people lived here. I had taken care of the woman before at another daughter's home a few blocks over in Sharon. Now, she was much worse, dying. Her bed was in Grandma's old room, where Grandma laid listening to the radio all night on a lumpy bed. I slept there a few times with her. I still remember the eucalyptus aroma as she rubbed the ointment on her sore joints.
Funny how a house can look different with new owners, but yet I saw glimpses of Grandma. It had been ten years, I think, since she had died or almost that many. The old lady, I visited that day, rested in a bed set up the same direction Grandma's was, looking out onto North Oakland Avenue through the front door and windows. We used that porch to watch  the Memorial Day parades for a few years. I guess if Grandma used both floors, her bedroom would have been the living room. She always rented, first the downstairs, then the upstairs, until the last renters proved to be druggies and someone put a stop to her renting out part of the house.
I'm home from church, now. I'm wondering where that sweater is. I'm cold. I found it and it is as warm and cozy as I remember. Mary Ellen stretched the sleeves. Otherwise, it is still Grandma's sweater.
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