I’m told that my childhood best friend, Kim, and I met when I was a year and a half old. Our mothers introduced us and we soon became inseparable. We made snow angels together. We waited at the bus stop for elementary school together. We brushed each other’s hair. We played with her mother’s Doris Day paper dolls and read Archie comic books. Later we played Barbie’s and Monopoly and PayDay. Our favorite t.v. show of all time was The Dukes of Hazzard. How we had a crush on Bo! Haha!
Kim’s grandparents, Grammy and Grampy, lived just two houses down the street from us and they were almost like my own set of grandparents.
Grammy was a German lady with the most beautiful completely white head of hair. She was about 5’9″ and was the most classy lady I knew. She was constantly cleaning or doing laundry, often while listening to the easy listening radio station. Their house was always peaceful and they treated me like their very own. I was instantly adopted and I loved it.
When we very little, if it was time for Kim to take her afternoon nap, I took a nap too. Grammy bathed us and there was a set of green nylon pajamas I borrowed for nap time. I didn’t care for naps as it wasn’t required at my house, but complied because Grammy said so.
Her spacious finished basement was a kid’s oasis with dress up clothes and satin high heels, large dry erase easel and colorful markers, toy refrigerator, shopping cart and a huge assortment of toy food. There were many tools for the imagination to run wild and that we did. Kim and I were secretaries, teachers, moms with baby dolls. We were rich and famous. We were married to fabulous guys who adored us. We were living the imaginary life! Kim was Grammy’s only grandchild and she was her world. I counted myself blessed just to be a part of it.
One of my fondest memories was when Grammy would put us up on this old wooden ironing board and washed our hair over the utility sink in the basement. She would usually wash Kim’s hair first and then it was my turn. We really got the spa treatment. I can still smell that Pert shampoo now. Grammy was a gem, so doting yet she could be very firm too. Her love was evident through her tender care. She didn’t have to utter the words. Her love was tangible and still felt today.
I lost touch with Kim about twenty years ago, but am hoping to reconnect with her at some point. I learned that Grammy passed away four years ago and Grampy the following year. My heart was sad to hear that, although they both lived likely into their nineties. Their lives were full. Affectionate memories will forever dwell in my heart. Grammy’s love and tender care for me as a child will never be forgotten.
I used to refer to her home and yard as the “Better Homes and Gardens” of the neighborhood as they took meticulous care of both. Their home was like a model, always immaculate. Grammy had the most beautiful red and yellow tulips that were so vibrant each spring. I adored them. They remain my very favorite flower to this day. Equally, Grammy invested tremendous care into her family and her “adopted” granddaughter, me. I can only thank God for placing Grammy and Kim in my life way back in the 70’s. They were a huge part of my childhood and sources of great joy.
Grammy, you were a great role model of what it means to be diligent and productive. Above that, however, the love, time and care you invested in my life is appreciated beyond any words I could articulate. Thank you for including me in your family. Your nurturing and warmth are often recalled with fondness.
And, Kim, you and I shared some of our best childhood memories. Our friendship was one of the best gifts God could have bestowed on me. We had fun times body surfing the waves at the beach and eating cotton candy on the boardwalk. We played with our Holly Hobbie play house for hours, shared our dreams and goals, collected lightning bugs in glass jars, played hide-n-seek on endless summer nights, played softball and kickball with the other neighborhood kids for hours, laughed constantly while we swung and played on the teeter totter on the swingset in Grammy’s backyard…Ah, the memories are countless, my dear friend.
How I’d love to catch up on the last twenty years with you, my friend! …