Thursday, July 17, 2008

Starting Over Old Country Style

Grandma moved in with us. A friend of mine, told me her mom had a house for rent, and it was beautiful. I loved the kitchen, the sink was kiddie corner and had a window over the garden. She had wallpapered several rooms and her taste was fabulous. I felt so blessed, it was like getting to move into a Better Homes & Garden's layout.

The Lord was blessing me as a new baby believer. It was so real to me that He knew the secret desires in my heart by the provisions He was making for us. Those are baby lessons, but at that time I was a spiritual baby. God cradled me just like we do our newborns, I was being cared for.

Grandma had the master bedroom with a lovely bathroom and she set it up like a little studio apartment. She always sat in a tan leather Queen Anne chair, she actually wore it out. We had a TV in her room, it was a cozy set up. The wall paper in her room was a soft blue gray, it suited her and looked pretty with her things. She slept in a twin bed all of her life so there was a lot of space to place things. I had a teenager, Grandma was a smart woman. She was looking out for us, without losing her mind.

My daughter had a big bedroom with two twin beds in it, they were gorgeous dark mahogany wood, and actually had been my Grandma's bedroom furniture. She and Grandpa had twin beds just like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. I saw a jar of salt peter in her spice cabinet once and just looked at her. How did my Dad ever get into this world? We never discussed sex, not in any kind of manner except abrupt frankness. Grandma let me know in her opinion it was a nuisance. She thought we should castrate men for criminal behaviors, so they could have peace of mind. Her opinions were always strong and she never was bashful in sharing them. Sound like anyone else you know?

I picked a small room with a soft cream paper that had some purple, pastel blue, and rose in it, it was a tiny floral pattern. It was the eighties this stuff was in fashion! The room was sunny which is something I cherish, I love the windows open, and light curtains or none. I purchased a full sized bed and bought a solid dark lavender comforter for my little bed. I needed a nest. Lucy lived with us for awhile too, she took another room that had this lovely warm rust and tan colored paper in it. She mixed a rosy pink floral with it that I thought would be disgusting; it was fabulous. She added dark green and a bunch of plants, the total designer effect. Lucy has a gift for decorating she just knows what will work. Did I mention she tossed a full mattress over a twin box spring and just let one side droop? It was fine, that's why I call her Lucy.

There we were a bunch of estrogen under one roof. It was interesting to say the least. I got a job at a family owned Italian grocery store as a cook in their deli. I never worked so hard in my life. 50 pounds of potatoes for salad that's a lot of potatoes to peel. My first day I came home and flopped on the bed too tired to even get my shoes off. Grandma walked by, looked at me and said," Good, you finally did a day's work." Geez thanks, kick me. I just groaned, but she had a point. Grandpa worked 16 hours a day or more all of his life and she did too. The 8 hour work day didn't exist then, if you were awake you were working. Whenever we went to a bakery she would assess their displays and prices, her mind calculating. Once in Capitola, at a really wonderful bakery named "Gayle's" she was looking at the prices and just marveled. "A dollar fifty for a Croissant, we quit working too soon," she was in her late eighties.

Words are inadequate for how much I grew to love her. I am not saying that we didn't irritate each other, but she saved my life. She was funny and set in her little ways but she set a wonderful example of being persistent. A very straightforward person, she was going to win in most any situation. Every receipt was re tallied by her and she found more than one mistake, as I would die of embarrassment. She worked hard for her money and you weren't going to get one dime by mistake, period. Wonder what she would say about how many people don't even know how to count back change.
Often she would tell me how things were done in the "Old Country," referring to Denmark. It became very interesting to develop a dating relationship while living with her.

I met Daddy BB at church. He'd leave so quickly I could barely speak to him. I would never have gotten to know him if I wouldn't have asked for rides to church to save gas. Our church was pretty far from our home and I really could not afford it. It wasn't a conscious ploy anyway. That he would pick me up first and then back track to pick up another single woman was lost on me. He told me later he wanted to be sure I got the front seat. Silly me, my favorite color is clear.

After about six months of rides and talking in the car we started stopping for an ice cream cone. That was the beginning of the end of my great figure. I was in great shape when we met. Sitting for an hour munching down a double dip twice a week added about twenty pounds to my backside by the time we got married. It was all his fault,then. Now it's mine.

We talked on the phone and became friends like this for a long time, seemed like almost a year before he actually asked me out. When he did, it was to a birthday party dance with some people from church. Baptist's dance? This was encouraging and I was really excited. Lucy was disgusted, she did not get what I saw in "that old goat." Being 32 and in my prime she had her sights set on several eligible bachelors, but I only had eyes for Daddy BB. It all went back to the prayer, that God would pick for me, by his heart. I loved Daddy BB's gentle ways, he was wise and we could gab for hours. He made me laugh too. I love to laugh. Lucy and I can make each other nearly wet our pants we laugh so hard, it's fun.

When I opened the front door to go on our first date Daddy BB was standing there WITH his oldest son. I quickly recovered my face and smiled and went on out. Grandma smiled too, a different kind of smile but she approved of the threesome. We went to the dance. It was not rock and roll, but it was fun. They played 70's stuff, Beach Boys and a lot of music that I knew by heart. A few of the couples were really tearing up the dance floor, partners flying and whooshing between the man's legs. It looked like John Travolta and what's her name in Grease. I was grinning. Daddy BB looked a little silly, he was wearing a black turtleneck and reminded me of the "Secret Agent Man," It was all I could do not to giggle, and no I wasn't nervous. Just had a flock of butterflies in my stomach. It really wasn't bad, we danced a couple of dances, I was feeling unbelievably bashful. I had been to every Day on the Green concert and the Keystone in Berkeley. I had been shakin my stuff since I was 16 and I was croaking with shyness. What was up with that? Lucy said God had given me a new heart and a new life. I was new. What a concept, I marvelled at it.

When we left the dance Daddy BB took his son home first. Which meant he would drop me off and say good night for the first time by himself, ever. My heart pounded. It was pounding so hard I though that for sure my chest must be visibly moving up and down with each beat, Ohhhhh GOD!!! When he parked the car we kissed. He says I kissed him. That's possible, I don't remember. I just melted, he could kiss. His lips were soft and everything was perfectly wonderful. I knew at that moment I never wanted him to go away. I think we kissed each other's lips off, the car was steamed up. It was funny. I was embarrassed again when I saw the fogged up windows. We got out and went to the door and there was Grandma. She shook Daddy BB's hand, thanked him for my lovely evening and said goodnight. Every time we went out she did that. If we tried to sneak in and smooch a little on the couch, this totally deaf woman knew exactly when the front door opened and she shooed him right out of it. I had the distinct feeling of being chaperoned in a very old fashioned way. It was driving me crazy. Nothing doing, Grandma was observing this courtship as they did in the old country and I could just zip my lip. She knew about hanky panky and there wasn't going to be any of that! No sireee bob!
There wasn't. We kissed, and a bit of the touchie feelie stuff, but no hanky panky. It was killing me too. I never have been cold blooded and he could kiss so fine. Lucy was also in there and she was telling me that spiritually I was a virgin, of course not physically, but God had made me new. He wanted me to wait, she wanted me to wait, and Grandma was making sure that I did. Whew. We sat under street lights and pretended it was the moon and steamed up the car.
It was Easter Sunday and I had invited Daddy BB over after church for lunch. We were all sitting around the table and Grandma spoke up. "I would like to speak to you today," she said, addressing Daddy BB. "Ok, Grandma," he replied.
I wondered what was up. I thought she might have a little handy man project for him.
After dessert we sat around the table. Grandma peered over the top of her glasses and looked right at him. "This has been going on long enough, just exactly what are your intentions towards my granddaughter" Daddy BB paused, he looked a little stunned. I was getting nervous in that 3 seconds, so I said,"Tell her your going to marry me." Daddy BB said,"I'm going to marry her Grandma." That was it. To this day he thinks we were in cahoots and had the whole thing planned. He was too chicken to ask me to marry him. I knew better. We would have 5 teenagers between us. Grandma had stuck around and got me a husband and now she wanted to make plans to get out of Dodge before the fireworks began. Fireworks indeed,..


Anonymous said...

I love it, keep it coming!

Anonymous said...

You are stopping there!?!?!? You are a cruel woman.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

Karen Deborah, you are precious. Your honest and oh-so-entertaining tales of your life make me laugh and cry and cheer! God is so good! I've heard this all before ... and I NEVER get tired of hearing it. You struck gold with Daddy BB (thank you, granny). I love you both so much. And miss you TONS!

Thanks for your encouragement with this blogger thing. Tonight I just sat down and wept to have begun sharing so much to so many. I had no idea that blogging would be so personal. Your comments mean so much to me, because you know the REAL me as well as this virtual women behind the pink curtain. God sure loved me lots when he sent you to be our Nanny Poppins. : )

I'm looking forward to the next installment. Don't keep your "public" waiting toooooo long.

p.s. I've been visiting Cindy at My Romantic Home for AGES! She was one of my inspiring women. I told her I'm not a paint-it-white kinda gal, yet I come to see her latest projects and her jaunts to Santa Cruz and all the rest. She's precious and so sweet. Oops! I'm filling up your comment spot -- best be off. XO!

Kathy said...

I am loving 'Your story'.

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

What a great story and I've only read one chapter. REgarding that first kiss, my vote is that you leaned towards him first. You did, after all, plot with your grandmother to get him to marry you (just kidding).

I remember those days when people asked what the man's intentions were. I miss those simpler, less complicated days.

Laura ~Peach~ said...


Heidi said...

***claps hands loudly*** This is better than a novel!! LOL I love eto hear real love storys... great job!!!!

Kat said...

What an absolutely lovely story. Thank you so much for sharing it!

And thank you for visiting my blog. I truly appreciate your comment. :)

Anonymous said...

thanks for giving out my mattress tips.
I was getting out of dodge too!!!!
5 teenagers and newlyweds, no way.

Flea said...

Too hilarious! I love your story. :)