My grandmother lived her entire life in the same small house in the same small town – Monson, Massachusetts. Being grounded by the familiar was important to her.
For example, Monday was always laundry day. First thing in the morning she’d stuff the washing machine in the kitchen with piles of linens, clothes, and towels then hang them on the free standing clothes line just outside the back door. She did get a dryer at some point but because we only visited in the summer, I don’t recall ever seeing her use it. I do recall her hanging up the laundry, clothespins in a pouch suspended from the clothesline as we children played in the creek running along one side of their property, or begged Grandpa to let us ride on the lawnmower as he mowed the grass. In good weather, children were not allowed inside the house during the day unless, of course, they were ill.
After Gram finished her morning chores she always took a few minutes to write in her “journal” which was actually a calendar. Her journal entries always included a weather forecast and summary of the day’s planned activities.
T-storms due this afternoon. Attending M. Finch’s B-day at 3:30 pm.
They never gave insight into what she was thinking or feeling but I wish I had them anyway.
Tuesday morning’s chore was always the ironing, Wednesday’s, cleaning the house, and Thursday’s, a visit to the tiny grocery store. Friday and Saturday I’m sure had special purposes but I can’t honestly remember what they were. Sunday’s chore was, of course, church after which we generally played croquet. Gram always claimed that any work done on a Sunday would have to be undone once you got to heaven.
Poor me, I’ll be spending most of my time in heaven raking leaves. Or rather unracking leaves (however that’s done).
Gram had other absolutes. Teenage girls never went downtown in short shorts. Women never went to a bar alone (especially married women), and dinner (what most Americans call lunch) was always at noon. If you weren’t home by then, you didn’t eat. If you were home, you came to the table with clean hands, never put your elbows on the table, and if you didn’t eat everything on your plate, you remained at the table until you did.
I only adhere to Gram’s regime by accident, however, this morning, as I hung the clothes (on a Monday morning!) I thought of Gram and her pouch full of clothespins. Of all the things I miss the most about her, that’s the thing I get the most sentimental about. A pouch full of clothespins. Strange, huh?
What strange things do you get sentimental about?