Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nonspiritual Lessons From My Gramma

I don't know how she did it. My gramma was born to immigrants and raised in poverty. As a child she worked as a servant in the homes of the wealthy and in sharecropper's fields harvesting sugar beets.
But somehow she became this classy dignified woman who knew about antiques, fashion and world affairs. She was a tough act to follow, my gramma.
She would turn up her nose at anything she deemed "common" or "low." This included laughing too loud or dressing too trendy. Too much make up and chipped nail polish was on the list too.
I know how to flip over a plate to find the manufacturer's stamp and thereby judge the quality of your china. I had a gramma wardrobe too. If I happened to be wearing a bright orange t shirt, I'd generally change to a gray, navy or black one before heading over to her house.
Small diamond studs are always a good choice. Ask Martha Stewart.
One should not tease one's hair to Pentecostal heights. However, if one is having a particularly good hair day, one can be presumed to be wearing a wig or at least a hair piece.
One should always be immaculately clean.
If a person is attending a particular occasion, there is a particular style of dress which is appropriate. Black is always a good choice. Understated is always preferable. If one is unsure, one may think to oneself, "What would Jaclyn Kennedy Onassis have worn?" One also knows Mrs. Onassis did not like to be referred to as "Jackie." Jaclyn rhymes with queen. But I digress.
I won't say that I follow entirely in her footsteps, but I appreciate her influence. I won't play humble, I know how to dress. Oh, I certainly swing a little funkier than gramma on occasion but I know when and where to do so. I know how to dress for an interview, funeral or wedding. I know what looks good on this body and what doesn't. I know what colors are "my colors."
I have diamond stud earrings. Although they are smaller than Martha's.
I know what hair color is more flattering as well as what hair style. I do tease my hair for added volume but I stop short of looking like I'm doing a gig at Dollywood.
My grandmother has yanked my hair to check for a hairpiece.
I know how to decorate my home. I don't have the money to do so, but I know how!
I have fine china and gold flatware from my wedding. You may find this frivolous and you may be right. But it is a mark of the finer things that my gramma found worthwhile and for no other reason, so do I.
Jackie O' isn't around anymore to guide our fashion footsteps but I had Princess Diana in my day and gramma assured me this was an acceptable example.
None of this makes any difference in eternity, but I find the lessons valuable anyway. I like these things about myself to be frank. And I like that they are fingerprints on my gramma, my mom, my sister and myself. They are shared amongst us even while we realize full well that the lessons are valuable only to ourselves.
Like our shared voices and eyes; we share the lessons of a mother passed on to her best to occupy this woman's body.
And for reasons all my own, I find these lessons to be precious.

Esther 2:12
Before a girl's turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.


Pat said...

This has to be one of my favorite posts - you captured the heart of gramma. I too love that stamp of her individuality that she left on each of's a good thing. Now if I could just stop laughing too loud - that's the part of my I've handed down to you!

Mrs. Mac said...

Your grandma touched your life with a timeless affection for things that just never go out of style. She was a class act! Now how do I sign up for the above mentioned beauty treatments???

Trish said...

She left her mark on me too, I still have some things in my home
from her. I always found her decorating style beautiful!
Thank you for her memories!

Louise said...

The only Gramma I knew did not know how to make a fashion statement and during the years I knew her, could have cared less about being in style. Her wardrobe was a simple cotton dress when she was younger and easy-on slacks & blouses when she got older. I don't remember her ever wearing make-up. I don't remember her wearing heels. I do remember her hair being very long when I was a child, and she would braid it and pin it up on her head. I guess I get my simplicity in dress from her ... either that or I'm simply lazy. Give me easy-fit blue jeans & too big sweaters and I am good to go just about anywhere.

Amrita said...

That certainly is a beautifulway to remember Grandma. What a wonderful personality to emulate. I enjoyed reading every bit of it Sara.

Laughed over "teasing your hair to pentecostal heights"

Mrs B Hinn and Mrs R Roberts should take note -they are straight from Dollywood (like that) and a few others.what did Grandma think of J Meyers clothes? Actually she is much better now.LOL. Love these ladies.

Margie said...

one should always wear lipstick...

Deb said...

teasing your hair to Pentecostal heights?

you're too funny.