Posting these writings of Grandma have triggered memories of this woman. Here are some from the early 60’s.
First, her house on 678 Grand Marais Road East in Windsor….as a small child, it was so different from any of the other homes that I had known or been to.
I doubt there are many of those homes left, they were small — enclosed porch, enter to living room, bedroom and bathroom on right, dining room, then kitchen at the back, with a 2nd bedroom, i think. The yards were long and narrow, lots of rooms for gardens and kids to play.
When you entered grandma’s porch it was full of stuff, stuff for doing plant arrangements, gardens, and who knows what else.
When you went into the living room, piles of newspapers would be removed from the couch and stacked with other piles around the room. The furniture was big and old, and there plants growing everywhere and stuff, lots of stuff. As a kid, it was fascinating. I don’t think I ever went past the living room, the dining room generally had boxes in it, for some project or competition she was on . What was in the boxes? well, she kept every label from every can she ever ate because in those days to enter a competition you sent can labels. Another box was full of boxtops. She won more competitions than anyone I knew, from creative writing or just sheer volume of entries. There was a large upright piano in the dining room, but no one played it.
She was a big woman back then, and was active in her horticultural society. When I first remember her, she would have still been working for the government of Canada (?) in customs and excises or it’s equivalent. She would bid on boxes of items seized at the border.
The combination of competitions and border auctions led to interesting gifts for Christmas — memories of items from around the world, along with a Jolly Green Giant stuffed toy.
I have a recollection of a hairnet and black hair. Big jowls and always in a dress, like most women of her time. She wore glasses, I think.
It was clear, that Grandma loved me. There was no question in my mind, that this woman cared about me. It was also clear that she was different. She was ready for a visit, and I don’t remember her complaining about the length of our stay, though it could never have been long. Shucks, we never stayed for dinner, nor do I ever remember using the washroom.