Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summers with Grandma

I grew up in Bellevue, Washington. My grandparents all lived in Vancouver, Washington so when I was elementary age my parents would take me to Vancouver to stay with my Frieze grandparents for a week in the summer time. I could visit my Mills grandparents for an evening, but because my Grandma Mills had an addiction to alcohol I actually stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Frieze.

Sometimes my cousin Janice, who is not quite eight months younger than I, would come from Whidbey Island at the same time and for a week I would have a beloved sister to play with, a treat for an only child. We made our own fun, playing in the yard or enjoying the treat of going to the dime store with our grandparents to pick out a toy. One year we got little baby dolls that came with plastic bath tubs. My grandfather had an English Ford and I found the little lighted sticks that popped out and blinked when Grandpa made a turn fascinating. My parents had to roll down the window on our American Ford and stick out their hand to signal.

Grandpa went-to-bed-with-the-chickens. Eva, fix the bed he would say not long after dinner. Grandma would let me stay up and watch Johnny Carson and eat Cheerios. This is something my parents would NEVER have allowed. Grandparents get to spoil their grandchildren more freely than parents do although I believe I may have spoiled my own children too much.

Grandma Frieze was a tiny woman with a backbone of steel. Because my grandfather was never quite happy wherever he was she had to learn to travel light and make a home in more than forty houses in two states and moved back and forth across the country between the Missouri Ozarks and the Pacific Northwest three times. Whenever adversity as come into my life, instead of asking myself what-would-Jesus-do, I look to a woman to whose experiences I can relate and ask myself what-would-Grandma-do.

Recently I got to have my Granddaughter Linda for a week at our home by the sea. I, too, spoiled her. We watched too many movies, ate too much popcorn and she got to have chicken nuggets as often as she liked. Instead of staying up watching one of the late shows at night we snuggled in bed and watched a movie past her usual bedtime and in the morning I made whatever breakfast she wanted. We got to visit with one of her favorite people, author Sydney Stevens, twice and sit next to her at vespers in Oysterville, which Linda thought was very special. Although Linda may never see me as a role model, I hope she looks back fondly on summers hanging out with me..One of these years she can bring her little sister Lydia and just think of the fun we will have with that little spitfire!


Janice said...

I know she will look back with love and remembrance at how special these times are. There is nothing quite like that special Grandma!

Theodore Wong said...

Nothing beats spending time with grandma. How come they’re so frail to look at, but so nutty and fun? I just don’t get it, but I like it. :D Thanks for sharing. I miss my nana.

- Theodore Wong -

Stephanie Frieze said...

When my first grandchild was born a friend told me that the reason that children and grandparents get along so well is that they have a common enemy. :-) All joking aside, I miss my grandma, too and I know my dad missed his as well. Grandparents have the time that parents sometimes lack or forget to use.