Creative Questions 16 – Childhood Memories

CC1CQ 16:  Please share a sweet childhood memory?

All of my fondest childhood memories come from the summers I spent with my paternal grandmother between the ages of ten through fourteen. Grandma was a loving, giving woman. She enjoyed simple, yet hard-working things – gardening, milking cows, raising chickens, canning and cooking. Leisure for her was snapping beans on the back porch or listening to her favorite am radio shows in the evenings after cleaning up the kitchen. Anyone who showed up at grandma’s house would be welcomed with a hug and a cooked meal. I don’t think there was ever a moment that a kettle of something wasn’t simmering on the stove.

Grandma also made me feel important. She made my favorite dishes, saved me jars of chunky applesauce, and whipped up batches of pistachio pudding for me every single year that I stayed with her. There were no televisions in her house, but she knew I loved to read and I was always welcomed to browse my aunts’ bookshelves for something to read (two aunts lived with her). Early mornings, I’d help her with the chickens and cows. By mid-morning, we’d been in the garden weeding or picking vegetables. When it was too hot to be outside, we’d go inside, drink lemonade, listen to music on the radio and I’d read while grandma prepared food. She didn’t like anyone fussing around her stove. Evenings were spent snapping beans or peeling and coring apples. At night, we’d gather in the living room to listen to her radio shows and of course, I’d always have a book in tow.

My memory isn’t what it used to be and it fads more and more each day, so I don’t have any specific memories. Just the lingerings of my time with grandma and what we routinely did each day, because with grandma, each day was a routine. She never swayed from her daily chores, even when she was tired or ill. That’s just the kind of woman she was. Always going about the business of doing things. She taught me that and to this day, I function better when I have routines and something to always be doing.

I didn’t get to spend the last summer of her life with her. In 1981, she moved from her farm back to the small town where she raised some of her kids. That summer, her kids refused to allow her to plant a garden because they said she was too old. I did visit a few times that summer and autumn, but I saw how “wilted” she’d become. Gardening was her life’s blood and she was cut off from it. By the following April, grandma passed away in her sleep. I still cherish the values she instilled in me and I’ve missed her every day since.

The Sandbox Writing Challenge #45 — Take A Stand!

Time for another catch-up post. This one from June 28th. Calen has perplexed me with this one. Mainly because the title and the question seem to be at odds with one another. Here’s the question:

9_FeelingSmallWhat makes you feel small?

I’ve been thinking about this one for a couple of days because of the juxtaposition of the title and the question. This is not a bad thing though. Many of the things that have made me feel small throughout my lifetime have encouraged me to take a stand. I will give you some examples.

I am a middle child, and throughout my childhood and even into my young adulthood, I always felt “small” in both comparison and contrast to my older sister and younger brother. I was never perfect enough, or loud enough and often left out of opportunities within my family. Sometimes, I still feel small, unwanted, unloved and abandoned. I still feel the sting. However, I didn’t let that smallness prevent me from becoming a self-sufficient woman who went to college and earned three degrees.

I also know the smallness of being stigmatized due to mental illness, not only from society, but also from family and friends. I’ve been shunned, gossiped about, called horrible names, and even lost jobs because of my mental illness. The only way I know to stand up in this instance is to tell my story with the hope that someone out there who has mental illness will hear or read my words and know they are not alone.

And lastly, I’ve known the smallness of living with domestic violence at the hand of a Narcissist. No one can cut you down and make you feel less than human than a Narcissist. They pride themselves in shredding you of all sense of dignity. And because they see you as property to be held onto, it is difficult to get away and stay away from them. Again, only by leaving and telling my story to others, can I take a stand against domestic violence.