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.