I want to talk about her a little bit. I want people to know who she was.
|Just to clarify, that cake was from us to her-- had she baked it, the strawberries would all be on top. |
And it would look good.
First off, Gran loved Scotland. Every time we (my sister and I) visited, she would have some agenda planned for us so we could see different Scottish tourist destinations, whether it was the Edinburgh castle or optical museum, coal mines, Loch Lomond or Loch Ness, Skye, Aire, or just shopping in Glasgow. You name it, we've seen it, accompanied by a complete commentary from Gran. I remember being very young and absolutely bewildered by some of the harsher Scottish accents I came across, and Gran having to "translate" what people were saying to me. I also remember Gran mimicking accents-- not just the Northern Scottish dialects, but Irish, as well. At one point, my sister and I were attempting to "speak Irish" to each other, and Gran immediately began correcting us with a flawless Irish accent.
|My grandmother and me, with pictures of her family on the wall|
If we weren't going to other parts of Scotland, we would walk around Ashgill, my grandmother's hometown, or Larkhall, the nearby larger town. We could walk to the library, the local grocery, the park, or just through fields full of cows or sheep, which were all over the place. Unless you're in one of two giant cities-- and even then-- EVERYTHING is picturesque.
|An everyday photo from Gran's town|
|My sister and me in Gran's garden|
Gran had four children-- three girls and one boy, who is my father. He is very serious all the time, and my sister and I grew up seeing him as a quiet, serious, stern father. Which he was. Until we went to my grandmother's house, at which point she would always greet him by pointing out the candy she put out just for him because he always asks for it while he's over, and the food she baked for him, and remind him of funny stuff he did while he was little, although always insisting that my dad was absolutely perfect when he was little. My aunts never minded telling amusing stories about my father, though, and my grandmother would always concede with the fact that yes, that event did happen, and oh yes, he did say that that one time. He is always far less serious around them, which is one of the reasons my sister and I loved our trips to Britain
|My dad and two aunts|
Gran was one of those people who demonstrated her love a lot of ways, but one significant method was through food. One of my earliest memories of her house was arriving with my sister, lugging our suitcases after an exhausting half-day series of flights and dreading the thought of unpacking, and Gran pulling us away from her parents, taking us to her kitchen, and putting on the stern face that my dad uses right before he gives us one of his infamous "lectures," and giving us a long talk about how we absolutely MUST remember that if we are EVER hungry, she has baked cakes for us that are in the top shelf of the freezer, macaroni and cheese in the second shelf, meat pies in the third shelf, and some series of Scottish candy in the fourth shelf, and we are NEVER to ask for it, just TAKE.
|My sister getting some Scottish breakfast|
There were lots of other memories, though. When I was four or five, I went to Scotland with my father, and he dropped me off at Gran's before leaving for Norway for a few days. My sister and mother came up a few days later, but there was a stretch of time during which I stayed with Gran by myself. I have a lot of memories of that particular trip. Mostly because I had chicken pox. Gran was all over it, though. I found a stuffed koala bear on her couch, and she immediately gave it to me. I still have him-- his name is Koala.
|Koala may be past his prime, but he is as understanding as ever.|
I also got tons of bubble baths with lots of salts and perfumes, which, from then on, was always a memory I associated with her house. (particularly since that became a nightly tradition every time I visited her) In any case, just a couple of years ago, I was in Cornwall with one of my English cousins (the daughter of one of my aunts on that side), and I had brought Koala with me on that trip. At one point, during a game of Trivia Pursuit with the family, I pulled him of my luggage, and my (~30 yr old) cousin immediately recognized him, saying, "Wait! That's Koala! That's mine!" And I agreed that he was Koala, but he was mine, and and how did she know him? Apparently she had left him at Gran's house on a visit several years ago, and the Koala I had discovered was not a special doll that my grandmother had bought for me, but something she simply decided I needed more. Pleased at this realization, I set Koala next to my twenty-year-old self, and continued with our family game.
|My cousin (post-Koala), her niece (Gran's great-grandchild), and Gran|
The last time I saw her was last summer, a year ago. I miss her already, but I love the family that she raised, and she loved it too.