Sunday, July 20, 2008

Grandma Manchester

It's the odd little things you remember. You know how Grandma's house always has that certain smell? Well, the smell in Grandma Manchester's house was mostly coffee.  It was other things, too, that I can't place, but it had this coffee smell infused in the walls. I remember going to her house as a kid.  I didn't grow up on sweet cereal - we were a Cheerios and Cornflakes kind of house.  But Grandma always had good cereal.  Fruity Pebbles sticks out in my mind. And she always used to send away for stuff for me from the back of cereal boxes. I remember this one bank in the shape of a robot - when you put change in, depending on whether it was a penny, nickel, quarter, or dime, it would slide into one of its arms or legs.

When I stayed with her, I remember sitting on this massive cushioned swing she had out on the enclosed porch. And I think I remember playing Old Maid.

She had an immaculate lawn.

She liked the movie The Jerk - she thought the way Steve Martin danced was funny. I think she would catch it late at night, edited for TV.

At Christmas she'd do her trailer (she lived in a mobile home as long as I could remember) up like Bronner's - this massive Christmas store in Frankenmuth, Michigan. And she'd always buy the grandkids the same things. If one of the boys got sweatshirts, we all got sweatshirts.  And I think she was always an optimist. Even as I was growing out of XLs, she'd continue to buy me Mediums. Christmas afternoon with the Manchesters was always followed by a quick trip to KMart to exchange the stuff that was too small.

When I went to college she always sent me care packages.

She was very crafty.  She was always crocheting some new odd thing, or making needlepoint tissue boxes, or something.

I Love Lucy came on the TV yesterday.  People always said she had a lot of the same facial expressions as Lucy.  We watched it for a while. She did.

She was Grandma Manchester to me; Nor Nor to my kids; Ma to my Dad; and Eleanor to everyone else, as far as I could tell.

She was always going, though she'd had to slow down the last couple years. She turned 83 this year.  I didn't spend as much time these last few years as I think I should have. She left Thursday morning to be with God.


  1. I'm sorry, Jim. I have good memories of my grandmothers too...and have been blessed that they are still in my 90 and the other almost 97. I don't expect much more time with either of them, and need to spend more time with them's just hard when you have a family of your own.
    Thanks for sharing your memories with us...sounds like you will always be able to smile when you think of her :)

  2. Grandma always loved her instant coffee and lots of cream. Aunt Janie even helped Grandma decorate this last Christmas season. She did love the holidays and dressed the house accordingly. I think we all regret not being able to spend more time with each other and especially when it comes to family. We expect them to always being there. Just know that she was calm and peaceful when she left us.

  3. Sounds like a nice grandmother... We'll remember your family in our prayers.

  4. Oh Jim. I am sorry and I didn't know about your grandmother. Grandmother's are so special and it's comforting to know they have gone to be with the Lord but it's sad to let them go. My grandmother passed in October and there is not one day that has gone by that I don't think of her. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help.

  5. Thanks, Julie; I appreciate that.

  6. My condolences on your loss. Your memories are familiar... I loved playing Old Maid with my grandma, at least until we got old enough for Crazy eights and Casino. And I told her I liked Cocoa Puffs when I was 8 or so; she was still buying them for me when I was in college.

    I'm glad she went peacefully and I rejoice in the infinite peace she must surely be experiencing.

  7. I am so very sorry. Grandmother's are the best and mine seems to provide some of my most vivid and favorite childhood memories. My prayers are with you and your family.

  8. you have been in my prayers. i know its been several weeks since but the sting of it lasts. it's good to get all of that out about her isn't it? grandmas are the best!