Monday, November 22, 2010

Firecrackers and Blue Jeans

Sorry for the delay in getting this blog up. I was kind of lost in the whirlwind of the funeral last week. But I promised you all tales of my gram, the firecracker.

She was a firecracker, which really is just a polite or more colorful way to say she had a temper, right? For instance, this one time, we were driving down the road when I was in high school, and she got angry at me. She slammed down her turn signal and broke the entire steering column.

Thus, her "firecracking" was sometimes directed towards me or inanimate objects. But other times it was directed to people who had done her family wrong.

When I was in elementary school playing basketball, she came down from the stands to scream at the referees and the coaches because when I was wrestling with another girl for the basketball, the girl punched me and knocked the wind out of me.

Gram was fired up that day, but her hardheadedness started long before I was born, long before my mom was born even.

When gram was a high school student in the mid-1950s, she walked into a girls' bathroom to see a couple white girls beating up a black girl in her class. She stepped in the middle and started swinging at the white girls. That was the end of her friendship with them, but she didn't care.

Right was right, and wrong was wrong.

Then again, even she blurred those lines from time to time. During those same high school years, she wanted nothing more than a new pair of Levi blue jeans. She asked her father for them again and again, but he said they were too expensive.

So, she chose not to eat lunch and instead saved her money until she could afford the jeans herself. She paid for the jeans, removed the tags, and wore them home from the store. Her father saw the red "Levi" tag sticking out from the seam and yelled at her, but she smugly knew she could not return them since they'd already been worn.

Eventually, though, she felt guilty for wearing expensive jeans when she saw other things in the family that needed replacing, her father's shoes that were worn thin for instance.

Still, when I was in high school 45 years later, she grabbed the little red tag on my jeans (I feel the need to point out that Levi's are now very affordable) every time I walked by her, and she told me that story.

She told me lots of stories I will treasure and always be thankful for. I'm thankful to you all for reading as well. Thanks for your comments and good wishes.

Have a great week, everyone, and Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you and lots of happy memories.

  2. Since we both were raised by our grandmas I thought it fun to drop by and read about your grandma. Brought back quite a few memories of my grandma. Remind me to forward you a story about the time my cousin decided to streak through our 4th of July Family picnic only to have our grandma be the only one that saw him.