As I have mentioned before, I am a big TikTok fan.  My work day is usually pretty long and requires all of the brain activity I can muster for the day.  When I get home, I need to sit down and watch people with very few teeth dancing to “Fancy Like That” with chickens and children running around in the background.  I need to do this for about two hours.  Then, when my mind is good and numb, I can go to bed.  Not all of the people I watch are dancing.  Some are singing, some are falling down, some are telling stories.  Lately, I have seen a few who have taken us to their grandparents’ houses to show us things that “just make sense” in a grandparents’ house.  Those have brought back lots of memories for me.  If my grandmother were still here, she could be the biggest TikTok star out there.  The items in her house could top anything I have seen and she would gladly narrate the tour herself, dressed in her very best dress and heels with a full face of makeup.  

Matthew was just a toddler when my grandmother passed away, so my children did not know her, but they have heard some of the stories and they sometimes ask to hear them again.  Tyra and I spent a lot of time with my grandma.  She lived in a town about ten miles from us and we would spend the night with her quite often.  She had a little white house with a big tree in the front yard.  I can still remember sitting in the yard in the early evenings and catching lightning bugs to put in a  jar for my nightlight.  I have many, many fond memories of staying there.  But I probably did prefer the yard time to being inside the house.  There were lots of rules inside the house.

The first rules began when you entered the house and stepped onto the sun porch.  It was a nice enough room.  There was a big chair at one end and a green couch at the other.  There were little tables scattered around with doilies, figurines, and artificial flower arrangements on them.  The biggest rule in this room was the green couch.  You could not sit on it.  It was only for looking.  It was apparently very old and rickety.  If you sat on it, it would fall to pieces with you on it, and you would probably be crushed to death and die.  I’ll be honest, as a child looking back and now as an adult, that couch did not look one bit older than anything else in her house.  And the fact that the mere act of sitting on it could cause death was absolutely magnetic.  That couch became my favorite object in the whole house.  Whenever Grandma went into the kitchen to cook, I took my toys to the sun porch to play.  I worked my way closer and closer to the green couch.  It wasn’t long before I got up the nerve to sit on the couch.  I was quick and got right back off.  I did not perish.  Then I got on and sat longer.  Still nothing.  I laid on the couch.  Still alive.  I bounced a little.  All good.  I never really figured out what the deal was with the green couch.  I never saw anyone (other than myself) sit on it.  

The living room had what I guess was the nice couch.  It was so nice that it was encased in what looked like a big Ziploc bag.  When you sat on it on a hot day, your legs stuck to it.  Plus, it made farting noises when you made the slightest movement.  This was, of course, the most hilarious thing that I had ever experienced in my entire young life.  Sadly, when the couch was about 20 years old, my mom insisted that Grandma remove the Ziploc and let us actually sit on the gold colored brocade fabric.  It honestly wasn’t much more comfortable than the Ziploc.  What was nice was that I could now get under the cushions, or into the bank.  My grandma was not too trusting of banks, so she kept cash money stored in various locations throughout her house.  I would not call her locations super stealthy.  I always enjoyed counting the money under the couch cushions when I visited.  Sometimes she would let me keep a dollar.  

Also in the living room were more tables with doilies and figurines.  My grandma was very fond of doilies.  Nothing touched a flat surface without a doily underneath it.  There were even doilies on the backs of the chairs where peoples’ heads went.  Keep in mind that Grandma was not a crafter nor a sewer.  She did not make any of these doilies.  I have no idea where she got them all.  You were not allowed to pick up any of the figurines, of course.  But she liked to pick them up and show them to us.  She especially liked to show us the bottom of each one.  On the button of each figurine and knick knack, she had written a name with a pencil.  That was who was to receive the item upon her death.  I guess she wrote in pencil in case someone made her mad and she changed her mind about leaving an item.  

The bathroom in her little house had a lot of rules.  First, I’m not sure how my grandpa ever used that bathroom.  It was the girliest bathroom ever.  The floor was carpeted, but there were rugs on top of the carpet.  There was a rug around the toilet and a fuzzy toilet seat cover on the toilet seat.  The entire tank of the toilet was also covered in a fuzzy covering. On the back of the toilet, there was a crocheted tissue holder.  It was a Barbie and the tissues came out of her skirt!  I swear.  Here were the toilet rules: No flushing if you just had to go #1.  You could flush with #2, but you had to shake the handle until the water stopped running.  No one could do this correctly, so Grandma would have to come and just do it for you.  There was a vanity with a sink and mirror in the bathroom, but you could NOT use this sink.  Not for any reason.  No water was ever allowed to run in this sink.  I have no idea why.  You had to wash your hands and brush your teeth in the kitchen sink.  My grandma put her makeup on at the kitchen table.  The bathtub did work and you could take a bath (no shower).  However, drowning and subsequent death was highly likely.  Therefore, one inch of lukewarm water was all that was allowed.  

The beds at Grandma’s house were very high and quite cozy.  However, death from hypothermia was a real threat in her 90 degree house.  In order to prevent our deaths from exposure, Grandma would tuck us into bed at night and then get big diaper pins and pin our blankets to the mattress so that we would not toss our blankets off during the night.  No, I am not kidding.  She did it all year long.  Yes, we could have died in a fire.  Apparently death from no covers was more likely.  

The best part of staying with grandma was her cooking.  She made fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, and all things delicious.  My favorite part was that she always had dessert.  She made angel food cake with icing and strawberries that I just loved.  And her sweet tea was the best.  It was one part tea and five parts sugar.  She made it fresh every meal.  

When my grandma was around the house, she wore a housecoat and a big ol hairnet.  Under the housecoat, she wore a girdle and hose and high heel pumps or sandals.  And all of her makeup.  I cannot imagine wearing a girdle and hose with high heels to do my housework.  Even when I was young, I used to question why she was wearing all that under her housecoat.  She always told me, “You never know.  You never know when you might have to go somewhere.  You never know when someone might come over.  I can’t be looking a mess.”  

When I was a know-it-all teenager, I went around and around with my grandma.  I tried to reason with her about things like putting money in the bank and wearing a hairnet while sitting in the yard.  I never got very far.  She had her way of doing things and it worked for her.  I can appreciate that now.  I wish I had appreciated it more then.  By the time I was old enough to appreciate what I had, dementia had taken her ability to communicate.  

There are some things that I do that I totally attribute to my Grandma.  I will not wear white pants or shoes before Easter or after Labor Day.  I know that fashion rule is outdated, but I can still hear her quoting it to me.  I also bleach my dish towels every week.  She always said that gray dish towels were the sign of a bad housekeeper.  I try to bake a homemade dessert for my kids at least once a week.  I will never be the homemaker that she was, and that’s okay, but I remember those days and nights at her house.  I remember falling asleep watching the lightning bugs twinkling in the jar.

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