When Grandma Was Little




Munchkin I know it is hard for you to picture Grandma being little.  The truth of it is I was at least for a short time.  ‘Little’ being the operative word, as I was always considered tall for my age.  My parents used to call me Sis, which I was told often was since I reminded them of my mother’s younger sister, Sybil.  We apparently had the misfortune of both being awkward and clumsy. 

I can remember falling down more stairs and breaking more things especially when someone cursed me with the fateful words ‘Be careful’.  I grew up with an older brother who sometimes had time to play with me but I also learned from a very early age to entertain myself.

I had a favorite tree near the front of the house that was good for climbing.  I would sit here sometimes and look up or down the road and daydream.  My Dad put a swing in a silver maple tree near the entrance of our driveway and I spent countless hours swinging.  I wore a patch in the grass that was nothing but dirt for years after I had stopped using the swing.  The swing was rope tied to a sturdy branch and a wooden seat that Dad had cut groves into so that it would stay on the rope.  I often would go to the swing to read.  Mom had taught me to read before I started school. Reading was another of my great passions and I read whatever I could get my hands on.  I always liked a good story whether I was reading it or listening to one. 

I always had animals around me.  I remember I did not play with dolls as much as I would dress up a cat and push it around in a carriage.  My parents bought a cocker spaniel just before I was born that they named, Blondie.  Blondie was really Dad’s dog and would follow him everywhere he went.  She would get all balled up with snow frozen to her hair in winter when the snow was deep and sticky.  Then she would lie under the wood stove in the kitchen to warm up.  It would not be long before a puddle of water would be forming near the stove.  She lived to be about twelve years old.  We had a German shepherd named Lucky who did not live up to his name as he was hit by a train.  The great love of my young life of all our pets was a German shepherd named ‘Lady’.  She lived a long life and spent many of her days chasing rubber balls that we would throw for her.  She was a good companion and protector.  Lady used to be a real pain on a school morning when Mom used to send her up to my room to wake me up.  I would pretend to be getting up in order for her to leave me alone.  After she went back down stairs I would crawl back into bed only to have her come at me with a vengeance if Mom had to send her back up to get me a second time.

I believe we develop interests as a child that we often carry though with us all our lives.  As I look back at those young years I remember a girl who loved nature and animals as I still do.  I also see a girl that spent many hours in solitude often day dreaming or reading.  Today I not only read books but also write a few.  Time moved on, the body aged and the hair turned silver, but much of the child still remains.             

                                   Cheryl C. Helynck


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