Monday, August 5, 2013

Grandmother's House

I am still eating Cheerio's every morning. Still taking swimming lessons, still conning my way out of naps, and the setting is still "the armpit".

As I've mentioned, my grandmother was a teacher. And an English teacher at that. So, her house was a little....particular.

Everything had a place, and everything was in its place. You NEVER ran out of red checking pencils, and she recycled all her old worksheets by allowing us to write on the back when we played newscaster, or God help me, school. (I was forced into playing it by Maria and Wendy because I couldn't go outside and play with any of the neighborhood kids. I didn't know them.)

Her kitchen was especially organized. Some of her practices I never quite understood. For instance, she put wax paper between her stacked pans. I am seven, and I promise you I'm thinking, "What the ????"

Most people had a tupperware cabinet that when opened, you experienced an avalanche. Not my grandmother. Oh, heck no. She had all tupperware pieces stacked inside cigar boxes. Those cigar boxes had the following labels written on the front: small lids, medium lids, large lids, small bowls, medium bowls, large get the idea.

God help you if you didn't put a lid in the right spot.

All cloth-like items or papers or....well, I never really understood which items deserved this treatment, but she wrapped just about everything in plastic bags and tied them with colored twistie ties.

She also paper-clipped everything. All the bills, letters, etc. she received for the week or month would be on the desk paper-clipped together.

Now let's travel to the living room, music room, and hallway. Her books were neatly displayed in these areas. None bore signs of wear and tear, though she read them. She didn't dare ruin her books by dogearing corners, or laying them spread eagle on the table. And whoa is you if she caught you doing that. Her books were her jewels. They were so precious that if you wanted to read one, you had to check it out.

You read that accurately. We checked out her books like they were from a library. She organized every title, knew precisely where each book was on each shelf, and kept a record of their use on index cards. Her very own card catalog system.

But even more particular than this is the drawer where she kept her playing cards. She had several decks of cards, all different colors. Some of these decks had labels. These labels bore hand written notes. These notes would read, "This deck is missing the 3 of clubs.", "This deck is missing the 10 of diamonds."

Even at the age of seven I thought, why doesn't she just throw the deck away?

I never asked her.

Of course, the scary thing is I am finding I can be just as particular as she was. As I write this, I am a few days away from turning 38, and I promise you, when you open my tupperware cabinet, you will NOT experience an avalanche.

However, I am not so persnickety as to keep AND label my unusable decks of cards.

But...there's still time.

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