“It was my Granny who taught me to sew. . .” That’s a line from a poem I wrote years ago watching Kelly and Katie grow up with so many more opportunities than my Granny had. Granny had 9 grandchildren, first a group of us six girls and then Uncle Bobby FINALLY married and she got one more girl and two boys out of the deal.
As kids we always got to spend a week at Granny’s house in Goodyear Heights in Akron, OH where we ate watermelon, broke her china, sampled her Pond’s moisturizing cream, raided her goody drawer and ate her fried chicken — the major meal of the day served at noon when Pappy got off of his shift at Goodyear. AND she taught us all to sew, taking us to the basement of Polskey’s where one summer I remember touching every single bolt of fabric until I finally picked out red corduroy and red and white gingham for a shift jumper and blouse. We laid out the pattern on the fabric in the upstairs hallway, crawling up and down while she helped me place the tissue just right to maximize the use of the fabric and minimize waste. Granny was not a wasteful person. That outfit, the smell of the fabric, the hum and rush of the sewing machine sitting under her bedroom window are as fresh a memory to me today as if it had been last summer.
Somehow she managed to make us all seem special. I remember growing up with a sense of pride about being a Holbrook. Not that the family was perfect — far from it — but it was a family that went out of its way — sometimes great distances out of the way — to stay close. And us cousins each treasured our weeks at Granny’s — often shared with one other cousin. Because of these weeks and annual vacation trips, we cousins grew up and remain close — although we are scattered from North Carolina, to Ohio, to Colorado, to Arizona. We grew up and count among us an artist, a poet, a dentist, a doctor of psychology, a business owner and yoga instructor. Three of us have become Grannies ourselves.
This year, in a grand experiment, we will all travel to Debbi’s house in Tucson to paint, hike, visit the desert museum, touch a cactus, sing around the campfire, write in our journals, and learn to know our faraway cousins and Grannies a little better. Granny Camp for cousins ages 6 and up. http://web.mac.com/mcculla/Granny_camp
In preparation, Kelly and Ben made a video introduction that not only introduces him, but looks to be part of the long process of dealing with the death of the cousin with whom he was the closest, our Stephie. While Stephie will not be traveling with us to Tucson, we will carry her smile with us in our hearts, on this trip and for always. For more information about Kelly’s process in doing this, visit her blog. http://rememberingtheday2day.blogspot.com/