Monday, December 28, 2009

Sassy Grandmas

Those of you who really know me know that I have been yearning to be 70 years old since I was 19. I lived with my Grandma McEuen for a year when I moved away from home to go to college. I adapted very well to her retired-lifestyle pace. I traveled with Grandma to her hometown places of Oak City, Lemington, and Delta (population of all three places combined: 2,000 and all are related to me). I went with her to a few meetings of the DUP (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers), and I even attended some Orem Women Club meetings with her (motto: must be over 70 and love boring meetings). Through my associations with older ladies, I somehow found it within me to conjure up a killer Carol Channing impression, an alter ego you might say. Even today, any time my brother-in-law Nathan sees me, he says, "Hello, Carol Channing." To which I sing, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend...raspberries!"

We'd eat a lot of chicken, not so much red meat. And we watched a lot of mystery/detective/ lawyer shows like Matlock. I retired to bed no later than 8:30 p.m. every night, much to the consternation of my friends partying it up at that party school, Utah State University. (AKA: Dixie College North. Ouch! Keri, you know what I mean.) My friends at USU would call Grandma's house around 9:30 p.m. with plans for the upcoming weekend, but Grandma would give them a not-so-friendly lecture about me having to work at 5 a.m. and that I shouldn't be disturbed. The woman always had my best interests at heart. This was before cell phones and Facebook.

But living with Grandma gave me an appreciation for old people, in particular, old battle axes. Grandma wasn't some wilting violet. Grandma was rather stern, with some choice phrases and comments. She scared a lot of my friends, and she could even scare me. But she also had an underlying warmth and her house felt very homey to me. At least, that first year. As time went on, and we lived with her a second time when Lilia was first born, her ability to cope with unexpected stimuli wasn't as great as it had been. But that's another story.

So I was caught off guard this Sunday when I sat near the back row with a bunch of the retired ladies in my ward. Being in nursery for the last two years, I'd missed my homeys, my peeps: the over 70 set.

The teacher at this particular Relief Society meeting was asking the question, "Why does Heavenly Father love us?"

Silence followed her question, as it normally does as people reflect and try to come up with a good answer. One of my over-70 sisters said in her inside-whisper voice, "Whooooo knows." It was so sarcastically wonderful and said like only a woman who's traveled life's winding roads could say it.

I burst out into laughter. Why would God love a bunch of yahoos and dingbats like us? Oh how I love the humor of old ladies!


MarySquare said...

Don't forget cottage cheese. Living with Grandma means eating lots and lots of cottage cheese.

And I had the bad fortune of having a boy call me at just after midnight while I was living with Grandma. I rushed to get the phone but was apparently too late -- after talking for about 10 minutes, super loud music comes over the line. I yell at the guy, "Why are you playing loud music?" He says, "What, I'm not playing loud music, you are." You can imagine the exchange -- then Grandma starts cackling into the line. "How do you like it, huh?" And berates us both for 10 minutes about how no one should be calling any one that light at night. I was humiliated and said guy lost all interest in dating me. But, you know who that guy is, so maybe Grandma was doing me a wonderful favor!

Morkthefied said...

Awww, Mary. Now I'm remembering the not-so-great parts about living with Grandma. That story almost has me in tears of sadness, I'm not even kidding. All the loneliness of that year with Grandma is flooding back to me.