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Chortis and Wafel

Friday, May 15, 2009

Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories and Love.
-- Author Unknown

A few weeks back I visited my grandmother. I think my mother and I get our hoarding of our favorite things weakness from my grandmother.

It used to be like stepping into a time warp when I visited her. In the last few years, she has painted and updated all of her living room furniture. But that is just one room.
The furniture in the dining room is older than I am. There are things in there that I want. She has the brandy bottles that would be more useful at my house. In them is colored water. Yes, I was hurt to know that there wasn't any 30 year old brandy in those bottles. She uses them as decorations. I pointed out to her the layer of dust on them in an effort to convince her that she would not miss them. She said, "so what."

It is difficult to convince my grandmother to part with things. I will continue to try.

I agreed to clean one of her bedrooms for her. It wasn't one that she liked to enter. She kept it closed all the time. As we walked up the stairs she handed to me latex gloves.
I asked her, "what is in this room?"
She told me that she had cleaned 13 trash bags of junk from the room the week before.
At the top of the stairs she handed to me a heavy duty trash bag. I asked again, "what is in this room?"
She told me to look out for titles, certificates and other important papers but throw everything else away.

I entered the room.

I cannot begin to explain to you the mess that was that room. It had been my mothers as a kid. Over the years, it had become a depository of stuff and had been shut. The only person who entered the room was my grandfather. As he has dementia, I did not know what to expect when I went through the stuff in that room.

I found a polaroid camera.
Does that tell you anything?
Okay, how bout this.... I found several 8 track tapes and a player.
I found hair nets and rollers that probably belonged to my mother.
I found medicine tins of alka seltzer.

Grandpa liked to eat in private. We found scores of snack packages opened and unopened. Lots of pop cans.
I also found mouse turds. Lots of mouse turds
Lots of mouse turds
Lots and lots of mouse turds
and evidence of mice

I yelled for grandma to explain this. She told me, very calmly, "Oh yeah, I find a dead mouse everyday in there. That is why I have the mousetraps."


I thought I was going to be sick. I refused to sweep the floor for fear of agitating some mystery bacteria. I kept pushing her away when she would come at me with the broom. I would pick up the food bits and papers but I would no longer clean behind or under anything.

She offers to turn on the fan for the smell that I unearthed. I panic. I certainly did not want the mouse turds to be swirled around the room. Heaven forbid more smells to find. I begged her to open the window. She refused because the windows had no screens.

I took a double take.

No screens?

I couldn't believe that her mind was on bugs in her house and not the possibility of a mouse running past me. I sighed.

Then I found her original mortgage papers.
In 1956 she and Grandpa bought their first and only 3-bedroom home on a double lot for $68 a month. She told me that was high back then. I giggled cuz the house looked almost the same.

I found my mother's birth certificate and then my uncle's. I learned that in 1951 my grandparents were Negro. By 1954 they had become Colored. We both laughed, we figured that my parents were probably Black when I was born but my sister was African American when she had children. So much for census taking.

I came across some paperwork for a Wafle. I asked her about Wafle. Who was she?

Grandma told me that she her father was dyslexic. Pause. I didn't know where she was going with that.
During her early 20s she had gone to the Health Department to request a copy of her birth certificate. On it she had been named Wafle. Not Mabel.

Get it?

I laughed so hard, I had to take a break from cleaning.

After two glasses of homemade blackberry wine, I resumed cleaning and found a birth certificate for Chortis. I snorted and asked about Chortis.

Chortis had been my grandfather's name at the Health Department. Not the name Curtis that he gave to my Uncle and later my cousin.

I started laughing again and I was pretty much done cleaning for the day. So we went out to dinner where she told me funny stories about my grandfather, who is now in a nursing home.

I am fortunate to have had my grandparents for as long as I have.

Crafty Updates
I finally completed the kimono.
I still have a lot of the yarn remaining and I might make another to get rid of it. The kimono was fun for a short time but mostly, it annoyed me.

I pulled some yarn out of my stash after I attempted to organize my yarn room. It really isn't supposed to be a yarn room. It began as an office. When I lost the basement, I started storing my yarn in it. Now I call it the yarn room. Perhaps, it should be names the Yarn Room of Doom.

I can't go in there to use the computer. I end up organizing my yarn or my tools. I can't enjoy myself in the yarn room anymore. No mindless Net surfing, records organizing or letter writing. Now it is all 'find the missing skein' or 'make room for six more balls."

Digging around in my red yarn box, I found this skein of handspun. Since I also unearthed an afghan hook, I thought that I would make a shawl out of it. I had to contact the spinner for more yarn. I didn't calculate my yardage needs before I began the shawl. It is an endless cycle. I am not following a pattern just playing with a afghan technique I found in a book. I am hoping to make a curved edge. Let's see how it goes.



Suse-the-slow-knitta said...

it's a good job that he didn't register you then, what would your name be? give my love to Wafel / Mabel she sounds wonderful

Fat Chick said...

I tagged you! Sorry this is all the way down the page - I couldn't find the comments link on other posts.

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