The Grandma Shrine came down last night. It felt like it was time.
I kept all the photos out on the mantle, but the cards and other random Grandma-ish stuff (a page from Annabelle’s journal, a bracelet she’d given Annabelle, the empty hair cream container she also gave her and a bunch of condolence cards) are headed for the Grandma Rubbermaid.
I mean that in the nicest possible way. Having a personal Rubbermaid, in my world, is about as good as it gets. My MIL is the first person I can think of to get her own; it seemed like a good, safe way to store the stuff that keeps landing on the kitchen table, via my father in law — costume jewelry, books, clothes. I don’t want anything to get ruined or lost. I did have to give Grandma’s sewing machine its own separate Rubbermaid, til we can find a place for it.
Speaking of plastic storage, the Easter/Passover Rubbermaid came out last night, now that the winter-to-summer clothing exchange has been completed. And with the Grandma shrine gone, we needed some cheer. Easter is less than two weeks away, after all. Passover, too.
Passover’s a tough holiday. A little too down-to-business to be much fun, afikomen aside. So we focused on Easter last night. Technically, Easter’s about as tough as a holiday gets, but the trimmings are the best.
As usual, I’d completely forgotten what was in the Easter/Passover Rubbermaid, so it was like Christmas: a collection of vintage (allegedly) bunny, birdie and flower cupcake toppers; cute napkins and paper plates from Target; lots of bunny ears; pink paper “grass” still in the bag; and several baskets, along with the requisite holiday DVDs and videos.
I’ve never seen this before, but the “Peter Cottontail” DVD actually broke IN HALF, while in the Rubbermaid. (This could be because, um, I didn’t actually put it back inside the case when I tossed it in. Lesson learned.) Annabelle was very interested in this (as she was in the Rubbermaid, asking, “Mama, what is a Rubber Maid?”) and announced on the spot that she’s now collecting broken DVDs and CDs.
So hey, if you have any, send them our way.
I also found a Ziploc filled with paper butterflies in various pastels, which I placed around the framed photos on the mantle. I added one picture that had been part of the shrine: a beautiful snapshot of Grandma and Annabelle, which my mother in law had enlarged and framed, shortly after she learned of her diagnosis last summer. Til she died, it was on Annabelle’s dresser. Now it’s in the living room, in an appropriate place of honor.
“You know why Grandma isn’t really gone?” Annabelle asked last night. “Because I have this! This is very special to me!” She hugged the frame tightly, then gazed at the picture.
She paused. “Grandma didn’t spend a lot of time with Sophie,” she said matter-of-factly.
It’s true that there is no corresponding photograph of Sophie and Grandma.
I do have a similarly lovely, similarly enlarged and framed photo of myself and Sophie, which my mother in law took at Sophie’s pre-school graduation and presented to me as a gift.
But there isn’t one of Sophie and Grandma. That doesn’t tell the truth, though. The truth is that my mother in law spent a tremendous amount of time with both girls — she babysat regularly early on in their lives (more than my own parents — by a longshot) and even in the last few months, made sure to arrange for special, separate play dates for just Sophie and Grandma.
I will say that both Grandma and Gaga forged particularly special relationships with Annabelle. I don’t know if that’s because she’s the first born granddaughter (I am for my generation, and I know I got special treatment) or for other reasons. I guess time will tell — with my own mother, anyway.
I think even Annabelle could sense that it was an awkward topic, and we both struggled to change the subject. I let her stay up to watch “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.”
I’ve always been a big fan of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The only part I really remembered about the Easter special is that wonderful bit where the Christmas display is already out at the local department store at Easter time.
But if you haven’t watched this one lately, make sure you do. It’s pretty special. My favorite part, I think, is where Woodstock decorates his new birdhouse all groovy.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the Peanuts, particularly Linus, since we both have blankets. I do recognize that Charles M. Schulz’s work is pretty retro and slow in a way that doesn’t appeal so much to kids today, so I try not to get bummed out when the girls stop watching halfway through the Thanksgiving or Christmas specials. (Remember how exciting it was, when they came on just once a year?!)
But last night Annabelle was right there with me. It was fabulous.
The Peanuts just don’t come up much in conversation around our house, which is why the following story strikes me as so odd. I have to tell it.
I’m sure it’s a byproduct of middle age (am I really middle aged? how can I be middle aged? I’m 8 years old, wearing my turquoise Snoopy outfit to third grade!) but people are dying right and left. A while back, a dear friend’s favorite cousin passed away. He traveled to the Bay Area for a service, and afterward, I asked how it went.
It was okay, he said, but Charles M. Schulz’s widow insisted on having the memorial service at the museum.
HUH? I didn’t realize that my friend’s cousin was a curator at Schulz’s museum. (I didn’t know there was a museum honoring Schulz, for that matter.)
Yeah, my friend said. His cousin did things like travel to Denver to oversee the removal of a wall from a house Schulz lived in before his characters were famous — he’d painted the characters on a wall, and his cousin made sure the wall got safely to Calfornia then made sure 10 layers of paint were carefully removed to reveal the characters.
Be careful what you think about, people, that’s all I’m saying, because a few hours after that conversation I was in the car with the girls and out of the blue — I swear, I hadn’t mentioned the topic, the conversation had taken place at work, not home — Annabelle piped up from the back seat and asked, “Hey, mama, where do the Peanuts characters live?”
Any other day, I would have been stumped. But this day, I was able to tell her: Santa Rosa, California, in a museum we can go to someday.
My friend says there’s even an ice skating rink on the property. Schulz liked to ice skate, just like his characters.