We had moved from Cairo to Mt. Vernon, Illinois, away from my grandmother when I was eight years old. I missed her terribly. I was told I was her favorite grandchild; she was my favorite “Granny.” She was my Father’s mother.
Two years later my mother and father separated and they were soon divorced. I felt as if my world was falling apart. My heart ached for that part of me that was slipping away. Mother must have sensed my longing, for she would take my little brother and me back to visit my Granny on occasions, even after the divorce.
I was always aware Granny loved us. It was something you could feel with your heart, even when your world was turned upside down.
She didn’t live in a fancy house or have expensive things, but I never noticed; I just knew she loved me and I loved her back.
We had lived, for a time, next door to her and grandpa in a duplex while my father was away during World War II.
Granny had never had very much in the way of money or material things. But it was the little things she gave me that had always mattered. Things like letting me dip my fingers in the sugar bowl, which was always sitting on her table or the coffee she let me sip from her cup. She allowed me to sit on top of her kitchen table as I partook of those privileges.
Granny took the time to explain the function of her weather vane, hanging on the wall, which predicted the upcoming weather. How that little wooden boy and girl knew what door to come out of, when it was going to rain, amazed me. But Granny understood.
She also had a vinegar cruet that sat high on a shelf that was beautiful, in my eyes; I asked if I could have it someday. It was given to me in a box after her funeral. She remembered; love is like that.
I used to spend a lot of time with Granny when we lived in Cairo, next door to her and grandpa, in the duplex. But times and things had changed. Grandpa had died; we lived a hundred miles away, and dad, her youngest son, my daddy, no longer lived with us. I didn’t get to see dad much, and I don’t know if Granny got to see him very often either. But, he was her son, and I knew she loved him. Love is like that; it can see past the pain.
Though she didn’t have much, neither did we, but she did something for my brother, Tommie and me. I will always remember; she saved her pennies in a glass jar. I am sure Granny could have used those pennies herself but she saved them to give us when we came to visit. Because I was the oldest I was in charge of dividing the pennies equally between my brother and me.
“One for you, one for me,” I would repeat until the jar was empty.
I don’t remember how much we collected on our visits, nor was the amount important. It was the idea that she remembered us, and cared about us, when we were away from her.
Those memories, of when I was a child, still give me warm fuzzy feelings on days that I need them. A Granny’s love stays with a grandchild, down through the years, even when that child becomes a grandma herself. I often wonder, after all those years, when I am lucky enough to find a penny lying on the ground somewhere, if it could possible be Granny tossing me pennies from heaven.