Thursday, August 14, 2014
Those Places Thursday/Grandmother's Bed
When I was small, I spent alot of time with my Grandmother Mary O'Hora. Grandma had two sons, her sister Alice also had two sons. Then I came along and Grandma had won the lottery--finally a little girl! A snapshot of my first birthday shows a barely visible small girl's face peering out from a sea of teddy bears and frilly baby dresses.
My Mother had several illnesses during my childhood, and it was to Grandmother's house I always went to be taken care of. Her house was an old one compared to my parent's 50's ranch home, with plaster walls, a chopped up floor plan featuring the ubiquitous front parlor, and a weird antique heating system. Coming into Grandma's house on a snowy winter day was a real treat--there in the middle of the floor was a giant grate situated over the furnace in the basement. I used to make straight for it and stand there letting the heat envelope my cold little bones. The heating on the second floor consisted solely of openings in the floor covered by grates so heat from the first floor could rise to the upper regions of the house. This was a wonderful arrangement because the opening in the bathroom on the second floor was located directly above the kitchen sink down on the first floor. My brother and I spent many hours eaves-dropping while below us Mother, Grandma and assorted Aunts chatted and gossiped as they prepared countless family meals over the years, no one ever looked up thank goodness.
There was however, one downside to the whole,"hole in the floor", as heating system. The upstairs was cold-- quite cold in the winter months. Not freezing, but definitely chillier than my 50's ranch house dwelling self was accustomed to. On overnight visits my brother and I had a room with twin beds heaped with blankets. But when it was just me I got to snuggle in Grandma's bed. It seemed huge, at home I had a little twin bed like the one in Grandma's other bedroom. But even better, I got to hear about Grandma using bed warmers as a child, and other wonderful stories about her life on the farm where she was born; descriptions of the older generation I never had a chance to meet, with their lilting Irish accents I never got to hear. I loved those nights when it was just Grandma and me.
Grandmother passed away suddenly one day, of an aneurism near her heart. I was a grown woman with children of my own, but it was devastating. My whole life Grandma had always been there, spoiling my children just as she had spoiled me. A few years later Grandfather followed her, and some of their furniture was sold, and some hauled to my parent's basement. It was strange, right there were all their possessions, but where were they? It didn't sit right that those "things" should outlast something as precious as their lives. It still doesn't. One of the pieces of furniture stored in the basement was the bed Grandma and I had shared on those long ago nights of my childhood. Now my bed.
Yes, I brought it home and I sleep in it every night. It's not an expensive bed, nor would I consider it an antique, though I now hear it referred to as "mid-century". It's solid, sturdy oak and has a bookcase headboard which comes in very handy considering how much I like to read before slumber. Just typical 50's blonde wood furniture, but it's our bed, Grandma and me, and I wouldn't trade it for the finest antique.