yet another list

The other morning I made applesauce pancakes, and for some reason, the smell overwhelmed me with a powerful sense memory of my Granny's kitchen. She never made apple pancakes that I can remember, but there you are.

So here are some things I remember about my Granny. I should have written these down long before now, but at least I'm getting to it before they fade completely.

She was born Nellie Irene Herrington, and married James Wilfred Haynie. I don't know how old she was when they married, but I do know she had only an eighth grade education. I saw a letter she typed to my mom once; it was badly misspelled and the lines were not even, as if she were having trouble with the typewriter carriage. I was only nine or ten years old when I saw that letter, and I did not then understand why it made me want to cry.

She was a genius seamstress; she could see a dress in a shop window one time and then go home and replicate the garment on her sewing machine.

She loved to play Yahtzee.

She lost most of her teeth fairly early and wore false ones; my mom says that whenever my grampa spotted a cloud of dust above their long dirt driveway, he'd holler, "Comp'ny's comin', Nellie, put your teeth in!"

She spent some time in a mental hospital when my mom was small; other members of the family think she had some native weaknesses that led to the nervous breakdown, while my mother holds other, darker theories which I will not go into here.

She did not use any hair color, but her hair was shoe-black until just before she died.

She was soft and warm and sweet in an archetypically grandmother way.

She died in May of 1995. I was 18 years old, and selfish and self-absorbed, and what I remember about my last visit with her in the hospital is that I didn't stay in her room the whole time, but left for at least part of the time and wandered around-- not because the sadness was too overwhelming for me but because I was oblivious and, God forgive me, bored.

She was smart and funny and kind and tenderhearted and strong. She endured poverty and a relatively early widowhood and a life that was never easy. I am so sorry she died before I had the sense to appreciate her.

She wore lots of polyester blouses with large floral prints. They were so ugly, but to this day when I see an elderly lady wearing something like that, I want to hug her. And rest my head on her shoulder and breathe in her scent and say, "I miss you."

I miss you.

I miss you.

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