Good lord did I ever suck this challenge.
Since I cheated on the childhood inspiration theme and used my mom, the madre thought I should use my grandmother (paternal) for this week's challenge. Nan! Wonderful idea! I thought. Think again, kid. And again. And AGAIN: about what she liked, what made her happy, what her style was; or wasn't, since she never bought herself a thing-- so then what was her style? What did she want that she couldn't have, how much did she give up, raising four boys completely alone, why didn't you plant flowers for her front porch more often, call her from college more, even though she would worry you had left if you paused for more than a second...
'kay, great. Done thinkin? Now make a pretty frock!
She did raise four beautiful boys alone, one of them being my Dad, and she did a bang up friggin job. My Dad is the best.
She didn't always smile in pictures, but she always smiled in life.
She loved the color yellow, though she called it yella. Yella pansies were her favorite flower, she said they had happy faces. Her living room was bright yellow, her bedroom electric blue.
She would take me to the Mall just about every Sunday to shop, and send me home with a bag full of clothes. If something fit well and had a good price, we had to buy two. (For when the first one wore out, naturally.) I think she liked dressing up a girl after all those boys.
We never lived more than ten blocks apart. As a kid I would rollerskate fast as I could down the block to meet her when she returned from work at the bakery. Or maybe it was work at the dry cleaners... either way, it was always work, and I was always happy to see her.
She loved jewelry but had little. What she did have, she rarely wore. She always tied an inexpensive but bright and colorful scarf around her neck when we went out. I still hear her saying let's go up the street. Everyone in town knew her and smiled when they saw her coming.
Brother Beast and I went to church with her every Sunday. Afterwards, we'd walk to town and get cookies and lunchmeat from the deli and make ham salad sandwiches and play at her house.
That was the real reason for church on Sunday.
She had two memorials, one in our town, and one in her hometown. Strangers showed up, crying, for real. There was a single mom and young college boy there, and I think he was in school because of her help. I wouldn't doubt it for a minute.
I wore white to her funeral. I never, ever, saw her in black.
She'd be proud of the fact that this skirt cost five dollars, and that I didn't abandon ship when the vintage Vogue pattern went hella wrong, and that I morphed it into a skirt, and she would like the yella, and the flowers... but I don't think I'll be wearing this again. It's a very sad skirt, and I think it knows it. No matter how much ironing I do, the wrinkles won't come out, even though I move the iron in tiny circles just like she taught me to. Every time I look at it, I do the breathy soundless sigh that lets Ruggy know i'm disturbed.
So that's no good.
Maybe it's just sad with me. Maybe it's someone else's skirt. Maybe i'll give it away-- Nan spent her life giving. It would be kind of perfect.