Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My maternal grandmother

My maternal grandmother, from a midwestern farm family, may have wanted more  than three babies. But my grandfather smoked cigars & liked limberger cheese & pickled pigs feet.

Grandma was a  moody, excitable woman, educated for a female in her generation;  two years of what was then called normal college & qualified her as a school teacher. But it was an intelligence she learned to suppress, & had few or no outlets for it.  I blamed that partly on grandpa. My sister & I surmise she suffered from periods of depression. Grandpa was rather undemonstrative, but they both liked children more than they let on & were indulgent.  They were my models of unostentatious middle class affluence:  live comfortably & quietly  & don't shove it in other folks' faces.   They would not have been McMansion types, would've considered it a waste of money & space.  Grandpa favored Uncle Harry's two daughters, nice girls but terribly introverted when I knew them, they weren't fun. Grandma served the classic roast meat & potatoes Sunday dinner. She always had peach ice cream, which to me was only o.k., an adult flavor. They had a waterfront summer house on Lake Mohawk which looked small from the front but had an incredible vista at the rear & a great backyard. Grandpa's boat was purely functional, a small outboard, you couldn't water ski with it,  so slow that none of us kids were much interested in going for rides on the lake.

We visited Lake Mohawk only a couple times each summer.It was very long car trip back then, when NJ Route 15 was a winding two laner up past the east shore of Lake Hopatcong  &  subject to awful summertime traffic jams. It  was easier to drive the 100 miles south on the Garden State Parkway to our relatives near Ocean City.  Anyway, there just wasn't enough emotional heat on mom's side of the family. They were, I realized later, a remarkably uncharitable bunch, even through conventional outlets. I couldn't imagine grandma passing up her weekly bridge game to bake a cake  for a church fund-raiser.

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Bob: I remembered the dessert as strawberry ice cream, kept in a chest freezer just outside the kitchen. (I didn't care much for that flavor either) :o)
Always some unexciting flavor, but the dinners were good. Their house was absolutely wonderful, a modest place out front with the steep driveway, & around back, wow! I'd think, they got the cool lake, why doesn't grandpa get himself a fast boat? I guess he just used it to putt putt across the lake to visit friends.
I remember the house as being very dark inside and we would roll down the front lawn inside of tubes and sometimes hit the house. Grandpa watched baseball all the time. :o)
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