Since the teen-ager who became my grandmother didn’t write a diary entry again today, I’ll continue sharing memories of Grandma in her later years.
Yesterday cousin Stu wrote, “I remember Thanksgivings at her house, with her getting up in the small hours to start the turkey, and the kids (at least, the younger ones) at the round table in Grandpa’s study.”
Stu’s memory jogged memories that I have of eating at the round table. I guess this might not be exactly the right time of year to discuss Thanksgiving memories, but Easter memories bring back memories of other holidays, so here’s a Thanksgiving memory–
After their children were grown Grandma and Grandpa Swartz built a small brick bungalow on my uncle’s farm. It had a large kitchen—and at Thanksgiving Grandma brought extra tables into the room to make a long table that extended from one end of the kitchen to the other.
But the table wasn’t large enough to hold all of Grandma’s children, their spouses, and the grandchildren—so another table was set up in the den. Grandchildren old enough to eat without adult assistance—yet not old enough to sit nicely at the adult table—were relegated to the table in the den.
I really wanted to be big enough to eat with the adults like some of my older cousins, but was always assigned to the den.
Aunts periodically rotated dishes between the kitchen and the den. But after the exchange was made, the DOOR WOULD BE SHUT. . . AND, THEN some of my more imaginative cousins would come up with all sorts of great ideas.
I remember one year we all crammed into a closet in the den to see how many people would fit. One cousin stayed outside, slammed the door shut—and held the rest of us captive in the dark. We screamed—and maybe an adult came from the kitchen to see what was the problem—though I have no memory of any adults coming to our rescue and think that we remained imprisoned in the stuffy darkness until my cousin tired of holding the door.
Then one year, one of my younger cousins—who in previous years had occupied a high chair in the kitchen— was deemed old enough to move to the den, and I was deemed mature enough to move to the kitchen.
I felt so grown up—but, good grief, the conversation around that long table in the kitchen was so boring. When I heard distant screams emanating from the den I longed for the good old days.