When I eat Ritz crackers with cream cheese, I think of my grandparents, of childhood winters in Florida, of the briny ocean stink as we put in the boat at Wiggins’ pass. Mummum stocked the cooler with the three necessities for any fishing excursion: water for me, beer for the adults, and sandy cracker sandwiches for everyone.
But we didn’t use Ritz, God no. They were expensive, and the generic was good enough. We didn’t shop at the chain groceries, either, where prices were higher. We went to Benson’s corner market or the scratch-and-dent food store. The very fact that they had a winter condo and a boat nearly overwhelmed my grandmother, so she made sure the condo was part of a cheap complex at the end of Wilson Street.… Read the rest
I can keep memorabilia; dishes, furniture, knick knacks, and books. I can take pictures of the rusty old house, its weatherworn shutters so incongruous under the new green roof. I can cradle my memories like flowers once pressed between dictionary pages. I can even recreate the flavors in my grandfather’s recipes.
But I cannot hold onto the smells. The basement’s dankness. The musty cedar fragrance of my uncle’s old bedroom. The layers of soap in the bathrooms.
This is my deepest grief about the Louisville house. That when it is sold, I will never again close my eyes and inhale the mixture of fall leaves and motor oil that hung over the driveway or the combination of mulch and roses that exuded from Poppa’s gardens.… Read the rest
My grandmother was a hoarder. The real shit. Her parents had enough money for more than mere survival during her depression era adolescence, and she lived the rest of her life with terminal guilt. She came through that and WWII with a deep sense of the value of material things. Not a desire to have them so much as a recognition of how precious they could be.
She never threw anything away.
Recycled, yes. GAVE away, yes. Donated to charity, rarely. But never outright pitched. In fact, she went to yard sales and dragged in MORE SHIT every week.… Read the rest
Three old men sat on a park bench, setting aside their canes for a little while. In the distance, children shrieked ignorance of their own mortality. But the men rested together, each hoping the others would return on the next sunny day, all well aware that one day soon they would not.
This post is for my grandfather, my Poppa, who will have been gone five years this September. For that long, my mother has held onto his house. But it’s time for her to let go, and she is getting ready to put it on the market. This week, I’ll be with her, helping to uproot memories we’ve both held for lifetimes (it’s the house she grew up in, after all, the one I visited as a child), dislodge furniture that hasn’t moved in decades, and dismember a bit of history, because we must.… Read the rest
These are recipes from my grandparents.
Mummum wrote out this one in September of 2001, just before Scott and I got married.
Brad’s Favorite Butterscotch Pie 9-2001 [Brad was my grandfather’s nickname]
1 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons of flour } mix
Add 1/2 cup of water
When thick add 2 egg yolkes[sic]
2 table spoons [sic] butter
1 teaspoon vanilla few grains salt
Cook allogether [sic] til thick. Pour into baked pie shell.
Cool whip topping
And this one a few years later
Great Grand Mother Bradshaw’s coated [?] pecan haves [sic]
1 egg white
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of pecan halves
Beat egg whie [sic] til it stans[sic] in soft peaks
Fold in pecan halves coat each pecan well.… Read the rest