My dear, beloved grandmother will celebrate her 92nd birthday in a couple of weeks. My husband always tells me that I’m not my mother’s child but my grandmother’s child – which might be one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me!
I was the first grandchild born to both my maternal and paternal grandparents which set me up to be pretty dang special! I freely and happily admit that I have reaped some tremendous perks as the first grandchild. I was also fortunate to have known all four of my grandparents for many, many years. It is a lovely relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild, in my opinion.
My grandmother who will be 92 was always so hands on with us. She let us play beauty parlor with her as our loyal customer! If there had been smart phones and Instagram back in the 70’s, I imagine the pictures of our ideas of gorgeous hairdos and pretty make up would not seem so gorgeous as much as garish now. No matter, she gamely sat patiently while we put extremely generous amount of Dippity Do (remember that!) in her hair and rolled and teased her coif until I imagine her head ached! Then on to the make up application – I wouldn’t be surprised if the final result was more kabuki than anything else.
She also let us play dress up in her closet. In her REAL closet with her REAL dresses and shoes. And boy, did she have some gorgeous clothes! My grandfather would go to town (Memphis, TN) and buy her complete outfits to wear to the Rooftop Parties at the Peabody Hotel back in the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s. He brought boxes home with dresses, slips, matching bras and underwear, stockings, hats, and shoes – from head to toe. Everything matched! An ivory brocade dress and jacket had ivory foundation garments and an ivory hat and matching shoes. Same for a red chiffon dress – red foundation garments and a matching red had and shoes. Oh, and matching jewelry, too! She let us play in all those exquisite, expensive clothes! What a trooper! For our part, I don’t recall us ever damaging her pretty things.
Some years ago, it may have been on the occasion of her 80th birthday, I took her to town (Memphis is still the “town”) for High Tea at the Peabody Hotel. True to form, she went to the beauty parlor and got her hair done and wore one of her best dresses. She looked beautiful and we had a fantastic afternoon sitting in the luxurious lobby, eating petit fours and drinking tea while watching the Peabody’s ducks swimming in the marble fountain carved from a single enormous piece of travertine, an impressive piece of Italian workmanship in its own right.
As she gets older, her passions include shoes, fine china teacups, and handbags. I am neither a cobbler nor a potter, so I decided to make her a handbag. Here is the final result:
The exterior of Mammaw’s birthday present