Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday Morning Blogtime


Blogs of Note change - I have been reading a lot of Jungle Jane lately and I believe she produces the kind of product that I find entertaining. That's right, penis, vagina and fart comments. Her profile says that she is from Australia - but how can you ever be certain? Jungle Jane has assumed Omar's spot. The reason for this change is that Omar, while I loved him, has not posted in what seems like months.


This is my grandmother. She turned 99 years old this year.

My first memories of my grandmother were from about the time I was 4 or 5 years old. After my grandpa retired from his job at Quaker Oats (for more information on Quaker Oats, corn sweeteners and Cedar Rapids generally - go here: CEDAR RAPIDS ) my grandparents moved into an apartment above a local funeral home. My grandpa worked there part time; he drove the hearse, did general maintenance and other little odds and ends around the funeral home. My grandma provided hostess duties from time to time.

We went and visited them at this old "Victorian" house, turned into funeral parlor frequently. I call it Victorian because I am not quite certain how else to describe it. It is now a restaurant - the actual house is shown to the right - would you call that Victorian?

In any event, this house has two full stories and one of the biggest, creepiest attics that you could ever imagine. They kept caskets in the attic. To get the caskets from the attic downstairs, they had this ancient service elevator. The elevator also went down into the basement - which is where the actually did the preparation of bodies for the funeral. The button to call the elevator had a crescent moon on its face. Coupled with the creepy attic and the funeral home, this was frightening as a child. Nevertheless, it was like a second home for us.

When my father passed away, this is where the funeral took place and this is where we stayed for the entire week. We were upstairs, he was downstairs.

My grandpa was a warm and loving man with a giant belly. I loved to sit on his lap and watch television or read books. One of my favorite pictures was me sitting on his lap holding the windup toy train that I got for Christmas. He used to chew Copenhagen and gave some to my dog once - making the dog sneeze. I thought it was funny. He also used to give me Pep-o-Mint Lifesavers. I found out later (when I was in my early teens) that he kept the Pep-o-Mint Lifesavers on him to cover up the beer odor on his breath. He didn't drink much - just a beer or two every now and then - but apparently that would set Grandma off. Usually he would do a run to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things and then would stop off at a little hole in the wall bar called the "Bungalow." Every once in a while, we would see his car there when we would drive by. I loved that about him; I loved him. He died when I was 13 and I miss him every day.

My grandma was a very sharp and bright woman. I think she would have gone a very long way had she been born in a later generation. Women just didn't have the same opportunities then that they do now. But she was a smart as a whip and she never stopped wanting to learn new things. When she was in her late 70s and early 80s she was taking classes at the local community college on different topics. When I look around at the rest of my family, I know that I inherited my desire to learn from her. Thank you Grandma.

Whenever we would go over to her house, she loved to play games. We played Scrabble often. She also had this history trivia card game (way before Trivial Pursuit came out) that we used to play. I ended up getting a B.A. in history later in life and I can't help but wonder whether these games sent me down that path. She was never warm and affectionate in a physical way like my grandpa; she showed that she cared in a different way.

My grandma had been living with my mom for the last ten or twelve years. Earlier this year they had to move her into a nursing home because it was just too much for my mother to handle anymore. As I mentioned above, she is 99 now. When I saw her at Christmas, she didn't know who I was.

I know that my grandma will never read this, but I hope that she knows how much she has meant to me during my lifetime. I'm not certain that I will ever get to see her alive again and even if I do, it isn't Grandma anymore.

If there is an afterlife, I know Grandpa is getting his Pep-o-Mint Lifesavers ready for her.


Blogger MsAmber provided this enlightening comment...

Neat story. I should blog about my great-grandmother.
I'm not close to either of my grandmothers.

12:06 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Femi-mommy provided this enlightening comment...

that was sweet mingo - i know the feeling, my aunt was gone long before she was gone - it's hard looking at thier shell and knowing the person you love might not be in there.

i miss my grammy =(

5:13 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Ranando provided this enlightening comment...

Great post Flam and your Grandma is lovely.

The Ranando Report

5:41 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger St. Francis provided this enlightening comment...

I care about you Flamingo

5:54 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Omar provided this enlightening comment...

Yeah? Just wait till you see the shit I'm stirrin' up this week.

That over-sexed Aussie ain't got nothin' on my big, black melon-growin' ass!

Melvin Taylor in '08!

7:46 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Destiny provided this enlightening comment...

My granny has alzhiemers and some of my family stopped visting her because she was not the person they needed her to be, or the way she was. I never stopped going because inside, somewhere deep down i knew she felt me. It's a hard road and if ever you need to talk feel free to im me.

8:43 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger jungle jane provided this enlightening comment...

i am doing my happy dance - thanks for rap, flamingo! i just hope Omar doesn't come after me with his melon growing arse...

now its a big call for me to be calling other people odd but i must ask if your family surname is Addams? did you have a detached hand that you kept as a pet? Was Halloween same-shit-different-day in your house?

i LOVE the sound of your family...

9:29 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger Eve provided this enlightening comment...

Uhhh. Flamingo, you're killing me. First of all, your grandma is adorable. If we could all only be that lucky to live a century. Amazing.

Your post was simply, amazing. Honest, descriptive, raw. You choked me up and made me sad, yet happy...


9:55 PM, January 08, 2006  
Blogger BadGod provided this enlightening comment...

Very nice.

10:45 AM, January 09, 2006  
Blogger PDD provided this enlightening comment...

Your grandmother looks so adorable. Seniors become as cute as babies, don't they?

I understand what it's like looking after an elder. My grandmother fell victim to alzheimers and became very angry and stubborn. Looking after her was more work then taking care of an infant. The most difficult of times was wiping her poops. When I say she's stubborn, I mean stubborn - poops were a flying everywhere. My mother and her two sisters (my aunts) alternated each month. One month she would stay with us, the next with the eldest aunt, etc.

She died this past April. It was in the hospital. The last sight of her was in a bag. They unzipped the bag to show me her face for the last time. Everyone had left, and I had just arrived. Working as usual. My mother and her two sisters didn't allow the nurses to bath my grandmother. Instead they did the honors and zipped her in that very bag which was unzipped for me and my husband.

2:32 PM, January 09, 2006  
Blogger t_cole provided this enlightening comment...

it was a pleasure to meet your grandparents. you do them proud in your writings.
i'd like to introduce you to my Grandmother...

6:57 PM, January 09, 2006  
Blogger Hairy Prison Guard provided this enlightening comment...

This was a very sweet story and of course it made me cry. I knew you had it in you to do the right thing and let out the sensitive side of you that I knew was in there from back in the first times when I read your blog and you were talking about reading stories and crying at the end or maybe it was watching movies and crying at the end. This is the kind of story that almost makes me wish I had not gone back on the BOYCOTT of you. But I did because of the terrible mean things you said to Drea and Tidy Bowl. So you are still on the BOYCOTT. You are BOYCOTTED.

And I can not help but ask this question, even though I have already given up any hope of turning you away from your soul-less existence where you are just nasty and brutish and hopeless, but would your grandmother have approved of the terrible things you had to say to Drea who is just, like your grandmother, an innocent woman trying to find her way through a confusing and hostile world? Would she? If not, wouldn't it be better to live the life that you could show your grandparents. If your grandmother did read this post she would cry, I suspect, if she could understand what you are saying and I know from what you said that maybe her brain is not working the way it used to work and of course I am very sorry about that it is a horrible tragedy when that happens, but what I mean is that if she could understand what you were saying and if she read this, she would cry. Because it was very senstiive and touching. But if she then went on to read the terrible awful comments you left about poor Drea and Tidy Bowl she would cry too. Because she couldn't believe you could be so nasty. Her own grandson.

I do not know, I just thought it was something that might be worth mentioning.


7:27 PM, January 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous provided this enlightening comment...

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3:09 AM, March 15, 2007  

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