I can remember almost running to keep up with her long, quick stride as we swept down the busy sidewalk of Chicago. She was always impeccably presented with her raven black hair and distinctive red lipstick. Her neck was long and elegant, just like her gams. She was friendly and warm….a southern belle to the core. She lived on the 28th floor of a poshy apartment building in the city called Lake Point Towers with a wonderful view of the Lake. I loved spending the weekend with her there. We would regularly visit the animals in the zoo, especially in winter because nobody went in winter and the animals were surely cold and lonely.
There was a doorman, Mr. Gray. And a garage attendant, Mr. Peanut Butter sandwich. She would bring him sandwiches every time she got her car from him. Thus, his name. She drove a green towncar with seats that moved by pushing a button.
There was a huge koi pond that we would play by and a swimming pool. At night I loved to watch the lights off the cars as they came down the waterfront. One side of her apartment was huge windows above a radiator that she loaded up with baby cacti. In my room at her house was a fold out couch with a black and white houndstooth pattern. Black and White silhouette portraits of my sister and I hung on the wall.
She gave me my piano and a cat named Catten who only loved her and would scratch anyone else. She made wonderful Shingle Cookies…basically graham crackers coated with a soft version of peanut brittle. She always had a peice of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum to share….but only half a piece at a time.
When I was still in elementary school she moved back to her beloved south. Again, at the water’s edge in Myrtle Beach. She cut her hair short and let it go gray. She was still elegant in a casual, beachy way. She traded city sidewalks for sandy beaches yet her stride was still long, fast, and graceful.
She volunteered with Helping Hand and the American Heart Association. She was utterly devoted to her ailing husband. She was an equally devoted church goer and loved when we would stay for the summer and sing in her church’s choir.
I lost her 9 years ago. Alzheimers. I don’t know if she could ever keep in her memory that she had a great-granddaughter that was honored with her middle name. She would have loved her great-granddaughters so very much. Just liked she loved me.
I miss her.