Blogs by Dennis De Rose
MY GRAMZER, A MEMOIR-part 1
3/11/2012 10:49:18 AM
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The earliest memory I have of my grandmother, Laura Mae Babcock, was when I was four years old. I know my grandfather was there but he was always working so honestly I can't remember him until later in my life.
It's funny the things you remember when you were a little kid, I distinctly remember going to my grandmother's house across the alley (we lived On Cliff St. In Paterson, NJ). I mentioned the alley but perhaps she lived in a building adjacent to our backyard; it's tough to remember back 54 years. I remember sitting on her couch in the living room looking at her old Electrolux vacuum cleaner; it always sat to the left of the couch and that's all I remember. But I bet I went to their house every day and I bet she gave me cookies and milk, it's just a guess now.
The next flash of memory comes when I am six years old. It's 1959 and I have the mumps so I'm ensconced in my grandma and grandpa's house in "the country". We always called it the country because they lived in New York State at the time in a small town far away from everything, especially compared to Paterson New Jersey. I'm sure I ended up there because my mother didn't want me to infect my other two brothers at the time. Oddly enough, I think I remember sleeping on a cot in their bathroom; can you imagine that? But when you're a kid, nothing bothers you. During that time I also remember waiting for my Uncle Floyd to come home on the school bus; he was a big kid at the time, he was nine. And I remember playing with my Aunt Sue, a board game, perhaps Uncle Piggly Wiggly or some such and listening to my Aunt Judy's records, the old 45s.
After that the memories kinda get jumbled as time moves along but I do know that in 1962 my dad built a house up there and we lived just down the road from grandma and grandpa. I love shortcuts so I'd walk up there through the woods every day until I think I wore a path that`s still there today. The older I got, the louder my house got as a brother and a sister joined our family. During that time, I walked up the path to my gram's house daily just for peace and quiet, but really it meant much more than that to me. My grandma always had a cup of tea waiting for me and a cookie or two and some conversation. She never treated me like a kid, at least I don't recall her doing that and it meant a lot to me. She wasn't perfect; no one is. She was opinionated and very prejudiced, unfortunately, but I loved her with all my heart. That's not to say I didn't love my grandfather but he was a different type of person, special in his own way.
My grandmother and grandfather cared very much about the family and keeping the family together. Our family had a tradition and it still does to this day. Every Easter, we would all meet at their house and celebrate the risen Lord. They would color and hide 120 eggs. All the kids would have to find every single egg and sometimes the eggs had special writing on them like 25C. That was a lot of money back then and I now know that they saved coins all year for that special event. We`d all eat out on the picnic table and have a lot of good clean fun. Those were the days...(To be continued...)
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