Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mammaw

I just came across one of the most beautiful pieces of writing that I've read in a while. First sentences matter, and this blog post began "I wore a wedding dress to my grandmother's death bed." As Shannon went on to recall memories of her grandmother's life and death, all I could think of was, "Did she call her Mammaw?"

She talks about learning to drive in her grandmother's big 'ole Buick. I didn't learn to drive Mammaw's big Texas Cadillac, but my memories my grandmother are steeped in her cars. The first I remember must have been a Buick. I don't remember the car itself, but the 8-Track that came with it, featuring songs like "On the top of the world looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find. . . ."

One Cadillac I remember was dark gray with dark gray leather interior. I think that the Texas legislation requiring everyone in the front seat to wear seat belts must have been passed while she had that car. My law-abiding grandmother put a post-it note on the steering well to remind her to buckle up. She was less concerned with the safety behind the ruling than with accidentally breaking the law by driving around untethered.

But the one that I will forever picture in Mammaw's carport is the pink one. Yes, Mammaw drove a pink Cadillac. Actually, it wasn't really pink. The color was called Desert Sands, and if we were anywhere near my grandfather, we'd better make sure that we were not calling it pink, because there was no way that he would consent to being the owner of a pink car. But when the sun hit the beige glittery paint, it had an undertone of a coral-y pink color. So we dubbed it the Pink Cadillac.

Like Shannon, I remember what she taught me. On one weekend visit, she took my sister, my cousin and I into her room to sit on her big King-sized bed as she gave us a notecard filled with her neat schoolteacher handwriting. It was the words to the Lord's prayer. She also helped to teach us Bridge and Canasta, so that we could join the adults at the card table set up in the living room.

I didn't wear my wedding dress to Mammaw's death bed. She made it to my wedding. She was becoming frail, and a bit addled, but she was there, and I was so glad. Not too long thereafter, they moved a hospital bed into her living room to make it easier to care for her. She passed away about a year after I married. Terry didn't get to spend that much time with her, so he didn't know all of this about her. But I remember. I know. And now you do too.

7 comments:

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

My Grandma had a GIANT 2 door cadillac. I can remember riding around sitting on the arm rest between the front seats. I thought it was a little seat just for kids so they can look out. = ) She died suddenly 3 months after my wedding. I haven't played canasta in YEARS!

Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

L.L. Barkat said...

Love these sweet memories. And you made me laugh with the euphemistic naming of the pink car!

heather said...

What lovely memories!
None of my grandparents lived to see me married, but I treasure the memories I have of them and can't wait to see them all in the resurrection. I'll introduce them to Chris then.

Katrina said...

Such beautiful memories, Jennifer. Like Heather, I didn't have any grandparents at my wedding, but their heritage lives on nonetheless.

Dad said...

Thanks for those special insights and memories of Mother. You touched me.She sure loved her Granddaughters.
Daddy bought the first Cadillac for Mother, saying "She always wanted one". Actually, Daddy just wanted her to have one.
LOVE to all,

Stacie said...

Of course, I remember the pink Cadillac, too. But do you remember cleaning the interior with Wet Ones?

(Cousin Stacie)

Stacie said...
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