Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Grammy Summer Camp

I refer to days when my granddaughter comes to hang out with all of us as Grammy Camp days. Linda and her cousin Gabriel, who with his parents live with us, are finally old enough that they don’t squabble as much as they used to. They are within two months of being the same age and have adored each other since Gabriel’s mom took care of Linda as an infant. Cooperative play hasn’t always come easily so I was delighted last week when Linda came for a night and everything went so well I didn’t hesitate to say yes to another night. On several occasions we have taken the grandchildren individually to our summer home on the Long Beach Peninsula. Taking both was out of the question, especially before Dave retired, but they are getting to an age where taking the two of them will be plausible.

When I was the age of my two oldest grandchildren my cousin Janice and I began going to our grandparent’s house in the country outside of Vancouver, Washington. Janice and I were almost as close in age as Gabriel and Linda and the only girls in the family. She lived on a farm on Whidbey Island which was fun to spend time at, but it was also fun to go to our grandparents because as everyone knows grandparents are not your parents and will cut you more slack than parents would.

It being the 1950s there wasn’t much on television that a child cared about so our days were filled with playing outside in Grandpa’s little corn field or feeding the chickens and looking at the rabbits. An owl decided to take up residence in their yard which was also very entertaining as he seemed to not mind people in the least. One year our grandparents took us to the dime store and told us we could pick out a toy. We chose identical small baby dolls that came with little plastic bath tubs and baby bottles. As I remember Janice’s baby had a blue tub and romper and mine had a pink. There was one television show that we were allowed to stay up and watch. Our grandmother liked staying up to watch Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show. We were even allowed to eat Cheerios off of TV trays before the television. That was our secret. I NEVER stayed up that late at home.

I treasure my memories of visiting my grandparents. Out of the total of my life they are precious few days, but make up such sweet memories they might have been months or years. I hope that I am making memories for Linda and Gabriel. They will be small for such a short time and soon will not want to own knowing who their grandparents are, much less hang out with us.

Yesterday their Uncle Nadir, who is here visiting from California where he is going to school, decided to do some ice cream science with the children. He went out and purchased dry ice, whipping cream, and vanilla. This wasn’t just a cooking lesson. Uncle Nadir explained how dry ice is made and what makes it different from the ice our refrigerator makes. They were not to touch it. They combined the whipping cream, vanilla and sugar in a large plastic bowl and took turns running the mixer while Uncle Nadir shoveled in the dry ice. Soon the mixture began to thicken and spoons came out for a taste test. More mixing and more ice ensued. When Uncle Nadir declared it done a little extra ice was thrown on top and the bowl went into the freezer. While their science experiment hardened their uncle let the children stir pots of “witch’s brew” with dry ice creating the bubbling, steaming effect. As a single young uncle is want to do, their let them have a dish of ice cream before dinner. His mother will remind him of this when he has children.

On the way to meet my son at Linda’s swimming class, she begged another night and it is very hard to say no to her so her clothing is washed and hanging out to dry and the children spent part of the afternoon decorating the front patio with sidewalk chalk to welcome our family friends Jo & Jon—or JoJon as they call them. We are celebrating Jon’s birthday. Jo and Jon have no grandchildren yet, but we let them borrow ours.

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