Monday, September 13, 2010

Mrs. Edgie

"A ceramic glazed mini pitcher that held some sort of liqueur at one time"

"A small cut glass vase"

  A well worn trail through a small stretch of woods lead from the  neighbor's house to "Mrs. Edgie's".
 Mrs. Edgerton lived alone in an old house. She became the neighborhood surrogate grandmother to us.
   Her house filled with so many antiques and fascinating objects on every surface. The house was infused with the odd cooking smells of older folks, cabbagey mustiness exuding from old appliances. Decorations of less modernity, linens and pot-holders, aprons of old patterns.       Even the treats were exotic in their old-fashioned way, candied grapes with their crusty skin of crystallized sugar. Homemade sherbet in the aluminum ice cube tray again with a surface crust of ice crystals that made it extra special. Store bough sherbet couldn't compare.
  On Easter she hung beribboned bundles of treats in waxed paper from the bows of the big pine tree in her yard. A couple of jelly beans, some candied grapes and those speckled malt ball eggs.
  We spoke to her in the voices that we learned in speaking with our own grandparents, polite tones with enthusiasm and reverence.
  Sitting still in an old wooden chair regaling her with our small adventures, I sensed that because she was old that too much activity was inappropriate.  The room begged for stillness and reverie.
 I was curious and covetous of the objects surrounding me in her living room. Perhaps I was bold enough to show sufficient interest in the pieces  because more than once she gave me small gifts. A small cut glass vase, a ceramic glazed mini pitcher that may have contained some liqueur at one time.
 We brought her gifts and treasures as well, my brother and I. I made her a red heart shaped potholder that had "I LOVE YOU" written on it. I wasn't sure whether the fact that it hung unused was a testament to the non-functionality of it or that it was special. I had similar confusion about the apron I had sewn for my favorite grandmother as she was never seen wearing it although she remarked often that she loved it because it had pockets.
 During the 1964 election I heard my parents speaking about liberals and conservatives. I remember asking what conservative meant. I knew that my parents didn't consider themselves conservative. I suppose my mother was trying to simplify her explanation for my  8 year old mind as she explained that Goldwater was a conservative and wanted to keep things the way they were and that conservatives had more old-fashioned ideas. In  my mind that must mean that Mrs. Edgie was a conservative because she had so many old-fashioned things and lived in an old-fashioned way. I'm not really sure what her politics were but this is how I wrapped my young mind around that concept so I assigned that leaning to her.

  Did you have a surrogate grandparent in your neighborhood?

1 comment:

  1. Brings me right back to the Captain, a former merchant marine captain who had a house filled with photographs of his adventures round the world, so many that he hung them from the ceiling too! We kids all loved to visit and see his pictures....He lived in a big white stucco house with lots of dark wood inside and that feeling of quiet, whispering was there too! Great story. xox Corrine


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