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Friday, July 16, 2010


I spent most of my childhood looking forward to August. The first 2 weeks were Girl Scout camp, and the last 2 weeks were Grandma's. Good breakfasts all the way around, but the best were at Grandma's.

She was round, jolly, and straight out of Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Want". In fact, everything about her was a demonstration of freedom of want. The candy jar was always filled, the table was heavy with dinners, and breakfasts were made to order whenever my sisters and I woke up in the mornings -- until 10:00. I overslept once and was informed the kitchen was closed. I had to eat cereal with sour currents on top with Grandpa. I never overslept again.

The best breakfast was when I was about 8. Grandma was smiling in the kitchen when I came down the stairs. She asked for my order, and I put some thought into it. I didn't get these kinds of luxuries at home. Grandma was so willing, so loving, I put her to the test.

1 poached egg
Blueberry waffles
Fresh squeezed orange juice, with pulp

Grandma looked at me with shock. I'm sure she never considered that I would stretch her morning amiability so far. I offered to revise my order, but she said it was okay, and heaved herself under the cupboards for the waffle iron and mixing bowls. I hopped around and gathered the ingredients while popping fresh blueberries in my mouth in my excitement.

It was fun to cook with Grandma, and when other people in the house realized what we were making, we had an audience and welcome takers for the waffles. Nothing had ever tasted so good. Fresh maple syrup from Amish country and a light dusting of confectioners' sugar sifted over top, on the dishes my great grandpa had made when he worked at Hall Pottery.

I already loved Grandma, and I loved her even more for that breakfast, but I never tested her again. I ate poached eggs or cereal the rest of that visit to show her my appreciation. Best Grandma. No wonder I longed for August all year.

It's funny about memories like this. The obvious illustration should be Grandma and me in her glossy turquoise kitchen with sparkling white cabinets, and windows that looked out to Grandpa's apple tree -- but I don't want to touch this memory with something less than perfection, and that kind of perfection just isn't going to happen this week.

In case you ready last week's posting, my plumbing issues have been disastrous. I had to call the insurance company and have had very hot, very noisy machines in my house all week trying to dry things out. I still have 2 of the machines, and I'm just not going to try people illustrations with that kind of disruption going on. I'm not even sure I'd like to do a picture of Grandma. She's perfect in my memories.


  1. Beautiful story behind the illustration! If only we could print our memories right out of our heads, it would be the perfect picture!!!

  2. Some things like precious memories can never be captured so perfectly as in the special rooms in our minds. Your blueberries are delightful. I hope that your plumbing situation gets resolved soon. God bless.

  3. Linda, the pattern on the outside is sublime. Is this water colour and digital?

  4. Thanks everyone!

    The plumbing issues are still going on with noisy, hot machines still in the kitchen. I think they're getting removed today. (Hope, hope, hoping!) Then I'll have to deal with getting new linoleum and refinishing the wood floors. Huge mess!

    Andrew, yes the painting is watercolor. The background is watercolor too, but I used PhotoShop to arrange it over the solid squares.

  5. Love your story Linda, and the pic of you and grandma. Nice work on the illustration. I like the way it pops against the background patterns.

  6. Nice story, and painting, I really enjoyed both! ! Your grandma sounds a lot like someone I knew. Best of luck with the flood repair.

  7. Thanks for the comments. I need happy thoughts right now because the latest on the flooding is that I found black mold in the basement. Yeeks! I thought I was done with the rescue company, but now they have to come back with their terrible, noisy, hot machines.

  8. Linda,
    Great illustration and great remembrance. I have similar memories of my grandmother who indulged us during the summer with a cup of hot cocoa made with Pet milk and cocoa (not that instant stuff I gave my kids!). Each morning she would cook up a wonderful breakfast with eggs, biscuits, bacon (or fatback, we were in the south), grits and no telling what else while we drank our cocoa. Love that memory.
    Thanks for the suggestion for my bird. I will place it on those colors and see what happens!