Cashmere Bouquet & Pepsodent

I remember my grandparents’ home on Cheyenne Ave in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It was a large brick box masquerading as a duplex on a shady street full of cracked sidewalks.  I remember my great-grandmother Mamie living in the upstairs portion of the duplex while my grandparents, Edna and Jess, and their youngest children, my uncles Jesse and Mike, lived in the lower half.  Their room was sea-foam green with pennies glued to the ceiling.  There was a long sloping driveway to the left of the house where my cousin and I would careen down to the backyard of the duplex in a Radio Flyer red wagon.  I would hold the handle to steer while he held on to me for dear life.  I still hold a lot of great memories of Tulsa.

I believe I was three or four when most of these events took place.  Poking at roly-poly pill bugs discovered under broken slabs of concrete.  Wondering how the bathroom light switch glowed orange when you turned out the light.  An ice-skating rink with a very chic orange and maroon stripe painted along the wall.  Bright yellow, red, and blue plastic roller skates.  A record store called “Peaches” with a sunken-floor main level where I would grab tins of strawberry lip balm and try to eat them.  A Fisher-Price doctor’s bag complete with stethoscope and little rubber mallet for whacking kneecaps.  An old brown rocking horse with terrifying pink lips exposing equally scary teeth, the horse perched on squealing springs that would pinch your clothes or bare skin if you weren’t careful.  Splashing in fountains at Owen Park on hot summer days.

Drinking milk with a bit of coffee from a cereal bowl given to my by grandma Edna.  Watching her crack ice from metal ice-trays with the pull of a lever.  Getting yelled at by grandma for picking fake plastic grapes from the glass bowl on the buffet table.  Getting yelled at again for trying to eat them.  Getting yelled at for standing in front of the water cooler.  Helping grandma Edna wash clothes in an ancient washtub and grind them up through the wringer to squeeze out extra water.  She always said, “Mvto!” whether I was really any help or not.

My grandma Edna passed away yesterday.  She was so much fun, full of energy, always smiling, cracking silly jokes.  This is how I will always remember her.  Her long dark hair gathered in a bun and secured with a beaded hairpiece and stick-pin.  Sometimes she wore jeans and a bandana to do chores around the house.  The bathroom had Cashmere Bouquet bar soap and Pepsodent toothpaste.

I will miss you and love you forever, grandma.

2 Responses to “Cashmere Bouquet & Pepsodent”
  1. Shelley says:

    That was a beautiful testiment to your grandmother. Your writing brings everyone along for all of your thoughts and emotions, and I love it. I am sorry for your loss, but love these memories that you have shared.

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