Thursday, January 15, 2015



I like that name. Some grandmothers prefer the more modern names for the relationship, to the extent that we now have women answering to Gigi, Gogo, Nana, and even, God help us all, Glamma. As in glamour, right? Wrong.

As grandmother to two and a half children (NewBaby is due in April), I like the old-fashioned name and the old fashioned role of Grandma.

Mothers are all well and good, but they have such a serious role in the upbringing of children that they can't have half as much fun as Grandmas. Plus Grandmas get to send the grandchildren home and sit back with a glass of sherry.

I had a fun Grandma when I was a kid, although everyone called her Mama. Mama lived in the town my Dad and mother (whom we called Nana, to add to the confusion) grew up in, Montgomery, Alabama. The 't' was silent in the town's name if you were from there. 

We lived in Birmingham, about a hundred miles away. I remember riding in the back seat when we went to visit Mama. We would pass the water wheel that is still there on I-65, and the sign, also still there, that announced,"Go to church or the Devil will get you!" complete with a stereotyped devil with horns and a pitchfork.

Daddy would always ask us, "What's Mama going to say when she sees you all?" and my little brother, Kip, and I would shout, "I de-CLARE!"

And she did, in that honey soft Southern accent, and hugged us and led us into her old fashioned house, with its smell of kerosene heater and with a big, scratchy living room sofa.

We would end up in her kitchen with something to eat. The old kerosene heater was fascinating to children who lived in the suburbs.

She made the best lemon cake in the world. White cake with a tart, translucent frosting. 

We would also get to eat watermelon in her kitchen, on the table with the oilcloth tablecloth. The best part was that she didn't mind if Kip and I shot seeds at each other.  In the kitchen. She didn't want us to spit, but the slippery seeds would sail a good distance if shot from between your thumb and forefinger.

I want to be that kind of grandmother. The cookie-baking, story-telling, singing Grandma. The one who is always glad to see you.

I think I have to go practice saying, "I de-CLARE!" now.

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