Many of us remember her from our childhood – that older woman who lived on our street who knew the names of all of the neighborhood kids. She may have baked cookies and handed them out now and then (back in the days before we had to forbid our children to take anything from anyone). She may have taken time to sit and listen to a child rattle on about a whole lot of not very much. Perhaps she had a little dog and would stop so you could pet it when she was out for a walk. She was nice, but she wouldn’t hesitate to scold anyone who misbehaved, either.
Remember her? She was the Neighborhood Grandma.
I remember Mrs. Montgomery who lived across the street from us in a brick house. I am not sure how old she was, or if she was a grandma or a mother at all. She was my mom’s friend and had known me my whole life. When I was twelve years and we moved away, she gave me a red wallet with the name of my hometown written on it.
Next door to Mrs. Montgomery, lived Mrs. Small. Mrs. Small also lived in a house made of bricks, but it was smaller than Mrs. Montomery’s. Oddly enough, in my mind Mrs. Small herself was of a more diminutive stature than her neighbor as well. Hmmm.
It warms me to think of these grandmother-type women who knew me from the time I was born and who, in my mind, assumed the title of Neighborhood Grandma. I am sure that having these woman in the periphery of my life contributed to the sense of security and safety I felt in my neighborhood at all times.
This afternoon after work, I was out in the yard enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. I had geraniums to take out (we winter them), tulip and daffodil bulbs to plant, and winter pansies to put in the ground. They continue to warn us about a harsh winter ahead, but I am not thinking that far ahead. I’m enjoying the here and now.
After I got all of my gardening tools out, I set up the pen for Yorkies so they could enjoy the sunshine with me. No sooner had I deposited the dogs in the pen with a treat and one of their favorite chews, than a batch of children ran over to pet the dogs. One little one in particular caught my attention and made me smile.
Her name is Piper and she lives with her mommy and daddy and older siblings across the street from us. I have known her since she was born too. She’s a sweet little one, just a touch older than my grandchildren, with a soft heart for my dogs.
Her mommy followed her across the street and we chatted while I showed Piper how to gently pet the dogs. Eventually, it was time for her to go home and as they walked back across the street I heard snippets of their conversation.
“The grandma let me pet her puppies!” said Piper.
The grandma! Oh I had to smile when I heard her say that!
And I thought, not for the first time, that I think Gerry and I are the oldest couple on the block. We are the neighborhood grandparents! With this realization comes responsibility. I am going to have to make sure I learn the names of all the children on the street, and which house they belong to. I may even have to start baking cookies again!
The thought that one of these little ones might remember me as their Neighborhood Grandma one day made me smile. Life is like that, isn’t it?