Shaddup Already!


In memory of Dee Dee

Dee Dee, my maternal grandmother, died two years ago on February 1. I wrote the following while I was watching her slowly die. We couldn't leave her alone and I would take the night shift. It was an odd experience to go through. Fortunately, I don't really remember her that way. I think of her as I did when I wrote this piece. My mom read it at her funeral, so it was really my way of saying goodbye.


Dee Dee, I have so many memories of you. You had your nickname long before I came. Even now, I hear the word Cleo and it doesnít seem to fit. You will always be Dee Dee to me.

I can remember going to your trailer in Sarasota. I remember the sights, the smells and the sounds. I was mesmerized by the beehive candle in your bedroom. The pictures of the young girls you claimed were my mother and my aunt were also a source of wonder. I can remember looking at the picture that hung over the sofa and realizing it was painted by Aunt Carla.

The smell of baby powder mingling with Dial soap met me at the door. Baby powder was a cure for everything. Dial soap taught me accountability. You would tell me to wash my hands for dinner and then you would smell to see if I had done it.

I will never forget the cluster of plants just outside your shed. There were bees there, but I could see the love in your eyes. You would tell me how I could take a simple leaf from your huge jade plant and stick it in dirt. From this little, tiny part of a plant would grow a new, huge jade plantógiven time and love.

I remember sitting in your comfortable rocking chair with my little girl legs dangling in search of the floor. I would rock hard, the way a child does because she doesnít understand the simple pleasure of lounging and rocking in the afternoon. You would tell me, ďDonít upset the table.Ē For a long time I thought your table had feelings of its own.

I can still feel your hands around mine as you taught me to beat bread dough into submission. Those moments of kneading the dough let me know that you understood Kimís temper and my overly shy nature. You used the dough to teach us both how to work with what we had. It was also through that dough that you showed your love and your sweetness. All we had to do was say the word and a batch of sweet rolls or fried bread were ours to be had.

Kitchen lessons were found each time I visited with you. You warned me that bread dough wasnít good to eat. You were right. You told me I would get sick from raw cookie dough. That taught me that even grandmothers could be wrong. Did you know I snuck the dough when your back was turned?

I learned from you that grandmothers could understand the desire of a young girl to have a horse. You regaled me with stories about your horsesóthe nasty pony you won and the horse who pulled you to safety. I could picture you riding your horse to school. I still have an image in my mind of your pony coming to visit you when you broke your leg. You fed her ginger snaps, right?

There are so many stories and I loved hearing them all. I donít know how much of them were true, but they will always be true to me.

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