Raleigh, NC — I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandmother lately. She died nearly 15 years ago. That seems like such a long time when I saw it out loud, but sometimes it feels like it just happened.
I wonder what she would have thought of my kids. She would have probably given them tons of candy. She loved candy and sweets. She was also quirky.
Here are few fun facts about my grandma that I plan to tell me children about as they get older:
She was a bird lady. She had a cockatiel bird named Baby that lived in her dining room. The bird would lay these eggs and she told me that if one ever hatched I could raise it as my own. Turns out they were empty eggs the bird was laying and she was throwing them in the garbage can. I was so mad. I thought I was going to get a baby bird! She also was convinced the bird was saying “grandma” every time it squawked. It did sound like “grandma” so maybe she was right on that one.
McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets are sold in the freezer section of the grocery store. I was maybe 5 or 6 years old and all I would eat were McDonald’s Chicken Nugget Happy Meals. That was it. So my grandmother came up with this huge lie that the circular nuggets (the ones I had been offered many times by my mom at home) were actually from McDonald’s. She might have gotten away with it except she got too detailed. She told me this wild story about how the man from McDonald’s had a table set up for samples and he was telling her that ‘Yes, these were from Ronald McDonald.’ I was a little too savvy to believe it and turned those nuggets down. Note that this was before TGIF and Arby’s started selling their products in the frozen food section.
Passed-the-Goula – My grandma loved to get on the CB radio when we took road trips. We had little radios that plugged into the cigarette lighters of the car. When we were traveling in separate cars for a family trip, we’d get on the same channel so we could communicate. This was way before cell phones. I was a young kid and my grandma would always use the word “goula” instead of “butt.” Don’t ask me why. But if you fell down, she’d be like “Did you fall on your goula again?” Anyway, we often drove through a city in Mississippi called Pascagoula. My grandma loved to get on that CB radio to tell me in the other car that we were “Passing the Goula!” Then if she thought I didn’t get it, she’d say “We are passing the butt!” I can only imagine any truck drivers who had CB radios at the time and what they thought of these crazy people!
She stole stuff. My grandmother was a bit of a thief when it came to condiments, napkins and plastic silverware. She loved to fill her purse up when we would go to Wendy’s or McDonald’s. I think she is the reason they only allow so many sauces for nuggets. I can’t tell you how many times I went to her house and ate ice cream with a Wendy’s plastic spoon! She also had a mysterious fork and spoon that didn’t match anything else. I vaguely remember a conversation where she said she took it from somewhere! She was also famous for going to a doctor’s office waiting area and finding a great magazine she wanted to read more of, so she’d just take it or rip out the article she liked and stuff it into her purse.
She had an imaginary horse in her attic. At least I think it was imaginary because I never saw it, but she always said if we needed her she’d get on her white horse and ride it over to our house two blocks away. She didn’t drive so this was a logical plan in an emergency.
All of these years have passed and I still remember and miss her. I hope these stories brought you some joy. I plan to keep her memory alive via these stories and a lot more.
How do you remember your relatives and keep their memory alive for your children?