In Memoriam

My deepest apologies to my faithful readers for the time lapse since my last post!  I just returned to Prickly Pear yesterday after a short visit to MA to attend my grandmother’s funeral.  Yes, sadly, Barbara Jarvis passed away at the age of 88 and her family and friends gathered on Friday to celebrate her life.  Her passing prompted a trip down memory lane which led me to discover that some of my fondest memories of my grandmother revolve around her idiosyncrasies and were really what made her so endearing.  Let me explain.

As a child, at every birthday, Christmas, or other gift-giving occasion, we were taught when opening presents to be very careful not to tear the wrapping paper.  If you were able to extract your gift without damaging the paper, you would proudly deliver the paper to Grammy, who would carefully fold it so that it could be used for the next birthday or holiday.

Sometimes on a weekend we would go visit my grandparents at their house in Cape Cod.  If it was summertime, we would go to the beach.  My grandmother would pack enough cookies, crackers and beverages for every person on the beach as well as a bag full of vintage beach toys, which, of course, were in immaculate condition.  In fact, everything that she owned looked as if it had been taken out of the box that day, whether it had, or it was 50 years old. And regardless of the age or expense of the item, television or can opener, I am sure that the original box,  complete instruction manual and receipt for the item was carefully stored somewhere in her home.

When we would arrive at her house, we immediately went for the fully stocked candy dish on the coffee table before asking her to take out the gumball machine.  The little gumball machine, which she kept on the dresser in the bedroom along with a small jar of pennies, would dispense a gumball in exchange for a penny and it was only allowed to be operated by children under the close watch of Grammy.  Next we would go into the basement and ask if we could type on her typewriter.  She would put a piece of paper in there for us and we would slam away at the keys for a while.  When we were done, she would look over the piece of paper and tell us she had found several bad words, presumably swear words!  Nearly every visit included a homemade dinner of roast beef, gravy, baked potatoes and carrots, and french style green beans.  It was our absolute favorite and we would eat every bite on our plates.  She would often tell us about “other children” who had to be told that they better “eat up and shut up!”  which we found hilarious.  And no visit to Grammy’s was ever complete without asking her to take out her teeth.  She had a full set of false teeth which we found fascinating and she would often oblige us and pop them out or snap them at us, much to our amazement.  When it was time to go, she and my grandfather would stand in the driveway and wave to us until the car was out of sight.

When we were young, my grandmother was an avid knitter, knitting all of her grandchildren Christmas stockings with our names, and many various sweaters and other clothing.  When I was about 10 years old, I had a ferret named Shaquille who had become ill from cancer and was losing her fur.  I worried that she would be cold and I requested that my grandmother knit her a sweater.  Much to my delight, she knitted Shaquille a tiny little custom sweater which fit perfectly.  I say custom because I have a hard time imagining a pattern existed for a ferret sweater.

I know this collection of memories may seem a bit odd to some, but to me, these are the things that come to mind when I think of Grammy and I wouldn’t have it any other way!  And who knows, I’ve been sharpening my knitting skills lately and maybe someday I’ll find myself knitting an obscure sweater for a grandchild’s beloved pet.


Easter 2011? 


My college graduation with my grandmother and Aunt Maureen


The infamous Ferret Sweater! Obviously I still have this 17 years after Shaquille’s passing. 

I would also like to give a shout out to Matt who kept all of the animals alive, fed and milked while Joe and I were gone.  What a rock-star!  Ok, I know I didn’t provide any farm updates, but I promise I will do another blog post later this week on all the farm happenings!  Talk at you then!