Thursday, April 30, 2009
Dee De Deeee
That's my Nana Ruth. She is the sound of shuffling slippers, a little "dee de deee" tune and a tea kettle whistle. She is memories of whole cans of soda, strawberry milk, sugary cereals and candy dots - all thrilling novelties to my brothers and I. She let me push her raft for hours in her pool and listened while I rambled on in the way that little girls do. She let us pick out our Christmas gifts from the gigantic Sears catalog. Her birthday cards always come first and she and my Grandpa used to call every year on my birthday and sing to me.
She has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. The quieter, softer one along side my big boisterous Grandpa Sid. Without him she seems even smaller. Our time together was filled with Grandpa's stories and I can retell his favorites word for word, hand motions and all. Nana always sat and listened, smiling and laughing at all the right parts. I can't even imagine how many times she heard those stories!
When Grandpa was sick, I spent a few weeks worth of afternoons keeping Nana company while her husband and lifelong partner slipped away. We sat on the front porch, his dog at our feet, and she talked. She talked to me more in those weeks than in the years since. She told me stories of her childhood, as a young wife, and as a mother. She spoke to me as an equal, not hiding details because I was her grand daughter or a young woman. She was frank, honest, and unapologetic and in return my questions were bold. I learned so much about her. I gained respect and understanding.
Our visits now are quick and chaotic with the kids. Our phone calls filled with chit chat about the weather and trips to the zoo. But when the tea kettle whistles I often find myself transported back to the front porch with my nana and that stinky bulldog. Now as a mother and a wife, her stories take new meaning and I find myself appreciating her even more.
Then I shuffle my feet across the floor and hum a little diddy...just for her.