Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Grandma Helped

I was a single mom. My mom died when I was 26 and my Grandma stepped up to the plate to help me find my way. It wasn't easy. I can be hard headed (ya think?) and not see the ramifications of a decision until I'm neck deep in it. For example, when the kids whined and cried for pets, me the softie dumbo made an emotional decision to give them what they wanted. I did not run the movie all the way through, and imagine copious quantities of cat hair on the brown velvet couch, or being a daily nag about cleaning up after all these beloved furry family members.
Establishing my lack of foresight is important to the story. Daddy BB had four teenagers, and I had one. Mixing teenagers is not a Brady Bunch experience. But I am jumping ahead,..

I left off with the mean Gregory Peck want-a-be and the disintegration of not only that marriage, but my life. We had a personal Katrina, there was nothing left except wreckage. It had taken a toll on me and I was not functioning very well, that's putting it mildly. My nerves were shot, my emotions were damaged, I had no finances to even figure out, and I was weighed down with guilt. Not to mention, sorrow, and feelings of failure. The picture as you can see was not pretty, actually it was absolutely grim, black, depressing. You get the idea.
I wasn't sure what to do. Another understatement. I had been operating a small home for old people and also working a travelling hair business. Both businesses were in the fold em up stages. I had rented two houses side by side and then filled the rooms in the house next door with elderly people we helped take care of. It's actually a very cool idea. Legally elderly people can live in a home together if it is a "congregate living arrangement." They needed to be able to manage their own medicines which could be in a pillbox for them, and have the ability to call 911 in an emergency. We provided meals, cleaning, help with baths, transportation to appointments and a family lifestyle. We had three single women and one married couple. My daughter and foster daughter helped out with meals, and helping some of them to bed at night. They could call me for help because we lived next door. Two ladies had moved and one died and I couldn't handle that many vacancies at once. Also the owner of the homes put them both up for sale so we had to relocate. I had hired a lady to come in during the morning and afternoon so I could work my hair business during the day and care for our people at night. The remaining two ladies got an apartment together and Dolores continued to take care of them. That left me and my daughter. The foster girl was old enough to go out on her own and that was what she wanted to do. I needed a house and a job.

When my Grandma was alive she did everything she could to help me have a positive attitude in life. Grandma was an awesome story teller and a "can do" kind of a woman, she was a rock. She was a true matriarch and held our family together through thick and thin. She was a hard worker. She never learned to drive a car and she walked everywhere. One time in her nineties we were looking for her and she had gone by bus and BART over to San Francisco to see the Christmas decorations. She lived in Hayward at the time and that was quite ambitious for a lady her age. She however, disagreed with us and couldn't understand what our problem was, she had after all been taking the bus and walking all of her life. Harrumph.
Grandma was small, she had the same soft set hair do all of her life. Part of her routine included a corset every day except for Sunday's, which she reserved as a day of rest. She stayed in her nightie and bathrobe all day every Sunday. An immigrant from Denmark she was made of grit and substance, she and my Grandpa came here and took advantage of the American dream. They worked hard as bakers and made a good life for themselves. Grandpa died when he was 72 and Grandma lived to be 99, she never thought she would be a widow for that many years, but marrying again was simply out of the question.
When I was in my life crisis, Grandma's solution was to leave her apartment and come and live with me. Our combined incomes would rent a nice house. Her real motive however was to look after me and make sure I got back on my feet. She was going to see to it personally,...
to be continued,...

9 comments:

LadiesoftheHouse said...

Love this my life stuff--what fun to read! Truth is always better than fiction. Looking forward to more...

Flea said...

Oo! Oo! I can't wait to read the rest!

noble pig said...

What a great story. I mean what a woman grandma was. They don't make 'em like that anymore. Thanks for sharing this and I can't wait to hear the rest.

Coffee Bean said...

How interesting! I can't wait to hear more!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

I looooove to hear you share stories about grandma. She rooted deep in your heart and blossomed in your life. It's late ... I'm exhausted ... and I keep having to hit the backspace to correct my mistakes. I took the day off from blogging ... maybe I need another day off. Love you ~ XO

Chris H said...

What a neat grandma! Can't wait to hear more....

Old Suzannah said...

What a darling woman she was, so precious, so much discipline and fortitude. Glad to have known her.
Lucy

Kathy said...

A quick catch up here. I have not been on line, busy with kids, busy with work, and very poor internet connections for phone and computer. All is well though, the smoke is thinning. Sorry for causing concern! Love your stories!

Susiewearsthepants said...

So glad you are sharing. I think it's important for yourself, and those who may be going through hard times. It's always nice to know that you are not the only person in the world to face obstacles.