Part of the Grandmama Stories.

Posted by Mary Marvella | 2:16 AM | 2 comments »

You might want to back up and read The Picnic, Part one of the Grandmama stories
Grandmama had told us a story about a time when she did something foolish that hurt a young man who cared a lot for her.


We were as quiet as though we, too, had lost our best friend.

"And what about Mack, did he forgive you?" my sister asked.

"Well, that's another story." she said, while her gnarled hands stopped wrapping florist wire around bunches of leaves, attaching them to short, green, spiked sticks. Watching her delicate touch I wondered how they could move with such precision. They created such beauty that the brown age spots on her gnarled hands were barely noticeable.

"That was a month later. By that time I had learned that the handsome man with the automobile was not as special as the two men I had wronged. I saw Alex for what he was. Or at least I thought I did when I got the mumps. It was embarrassing to get a childhood illness when I was pretty much grown!

"Alex had given me a lovely friendship ring. I had proudly shown it off and enjoyed seeing the envy of the unmarried girls I knew. I was lonely, but I just knew Alex would visit me and make me feel better. Well, he didn’t and I was disappointed. Edward made it a point to visit me, though. He felt so sorry for me he forgot to be angry. He even brought a bouquet of wildflowers and a box of chocolates for me to save until I could enjoy them."

"What about Mack?" a cousin asked.

"She’s getting to it," I answered. "Now, hush."

"Well, I was so annoyed with Mack that I offered to let Edward wear the ring Alex had given me. Edward knew I just wanted to make Alex jealous, but he wore it on his little finger for a week, anyway. I think he enjoyed making the handsome, ladies-man jealous. I finally sent the ring back to him, before I learned that he had never had the mumps and was doing the right thing to stay away. He could have sent more than a short note, though.

"Mack was always in and out of the house with my brothers, but he just glared at me or treated me like the immature child he must have thought I was to do such a thoughtless thing. Anyway, one afternoon after the mumps had gone, I was helping with the laundry. I was bringing in a basket of dry clothes I had taken from the clothesline in our back yard when I heard hammering down the street.

Mack’s parents owned a store and he worked for them. This afternoon he was hammering on something. I looked in the direction of his yard and he was practically naked. He was not wearing a shirt and I couldn’t help but watch him. He some nice-looking muscles. I had never even seen my father without his shirt or my brother, even.

"I waited for him to look my way but he didn’t. I finally gave up and went inside, though I wanted him to notice me. When I went back outside with the same basket of dry clothes, I started hanging them out on the line again. He still wouldn’t turn around, so I began to sing, loudly. I remembered hearing a song about a girl who wanted her fellow to snuggle up to her because ‘her feet was as cold as ice cream.’ I knew Papa would not approve of my knowing such a song, it was kind of bawdy or naughty by his standards. But I sashayed around and sang it as loudly as I could. I thought the woman in the song was ‘bundling’ with the young man who was staying the night at her house but I started to wonder. Mack must have known all the words."

"And did he like the song?" I asked, knowing the answer.

"Well, I was so embarrassed when I thought about what the words meant that I stopped singing and slipped inside our screened porch. I heard Mack sing the last line and was glad I hadn’t known the last few lines."

As though one of us had asked, she explained, "‘Bundling’ is a respectable way of sharing a bed, with a board between two people. The girl in the song wasn’t talking about a board between her and her fellow. The next time Mack came to our house he threatened to throttle me if he heard me singing such trash again."

I got his attention, though.

Once again Mama entered the room quietly. She smiled at us and gave the look that meant there would be no more stories that night.

We put away the "ball gowns" and placed slippers in their places for the next time.

And then there was the story about Grandmama's first baseball players.


  1. Mona Risk // September 12, 2007 at 8:47 AM  

    What a touchy story. I love hearing old ladies' souvenirs. My grandma told us how she was hiding behind the curtains to watch the suitor chosen by her father. She was supposed to meet him once only and say aye or naye. No dating allowed. She said, "I took one look at him and I knew I would love him." And when we asked, "Why this one?" She blushed and said, "He had such a beautiful mustache, all manly." And she said yeah to my grandpa. This was in a different time in the Old country.


  2. Mary Marvella // September 15, 2007 at 7:27 PM  

    Thanks, Mona.

    We spend many hours listening to grandmama tell stories. she had the sweetest voice and angelic smile that could become a devilish smile. We wore her jewelry, much of it given to her by our parents, and her face powder and her clothes. The girls took turns combing her short, thin hair and making pin curls with bobby pins. (The old days!)
    We were indeed lucky to be there with her and I wish I'd listened and remembered more than I do. I have others but not in my computer yet.

    Mary, smiling and remembering.