Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Think Out Loud [13] Summer

I spent my summers in Iowa with my grandma. 
Since I was a little girl June through August meant 
Soft serve ice cream
Perfect old lady hugs
Fried Chicken and potatoes 
An ancient green rotary telephone
My Aunt Dodie's sweetheart dog 
Meandering rock roads and broken down barns
Empty pop cans in ditches we had to run out and grab
Heated games of Pitch and Cribbage
Bad TV reception and only one channel...
Days of Our Lives, the Waltons, Wimbledon 
Pool hours
Black clouds and awesome thunder storms
No off switch to a beloved police scanner
Porch swings
My first kiss
My first heartbreak
Rolling hills and deer signs
Glossy corn and soy bean fields
 John Deer tractors
Matted down hat hair
Cute farm boys who heard I was a "good girl"
The best hugs. 
My grandma as hard as she was because she deserved to be hard with her dad dying of the Spanish Flu when she was just a girl, then her husband walking down the basement stairs and ending it all with those mint green walls surrounding him, my grandma wasn't a sweet lady. But she always had mini-marshmallows and potato chips in her cupboards. She smelled like Halls cough drops. She was small and soft and never seemed to sleep. She refused to tell me stories about my grandpa, but she taught me to cook and sass and give the perfect stink eye. She survived my asshole phase called Fourteen Year Old Girl. I miss her like crazy. I'm going back there without her open arms to greet me. Without her small footsteps I always followed no matter how "grown up" I got. My first trip back there without her. I'll visit her stone, my grandpa's and Aunt Dodie's too. I'll listen to the wind. Tell my boys to knock it off. Gracefully take the tissue my mom knowingly hands me. I'll cry. Maybe drive by the pool and ice cream shop. I think the peonies will be blooming. She always had a thing to say about pretty flowers.

Think Out Loud is one cool meme. Share whatever you like. There are no rules, no theme, just you and what's on your mind. I'll be taking a break from posting until the end of June. I'll still stop by for a visit and comment here and there and you can always reach me by leaving a comment or emailing me.
Happy June for all of us!!


  1. Wow...that was amazing,Robyn, really emotional.
    I had a special relationship with my grandma too and I miss her so much. I used to spent my summers at her place too, until high school. Sadly I lost her in 2009. Nothing is the same when I go back to that house. Grandpa is there, but the house seems empty, cold. But there are sometimes, sitting there at the spot she liked to sit, that I can almost see her walking around, cooking me dinner or telling me stories. I guess I keep going back for those moments.

    1. I was hit with a wave of grief before this post. My grandma died a while ago. I wish we still had her house, but I think I would feel the same way you do. Usually I think back on summers and I don't get lost in sadness. The trip is pulling me into the past in these unexpected shots of emotion. Just so you know, I'm still thinking about your review of The Snowman!

    2. I'm so happy you liked that review. :)

  2. I've been holding a quiet grudge against my grandma, especially after she embarrassed a friend of mine who'd come to help me while I was recovering.

    But reading this post makes me want to call my grandma and ask how she's doing, makes me forget about the little wrong she's done. I'm sorry that you and Athina have both lost your grandmas. We could share mine, you know.

    Thanks for sharing this post, Robyn. I love it.

    1. Aw, Kaykay, that's so nice for you to share. Grandmas are not always gentle with our feelings that's for sure, but oh how they love us. I'm glad my post made you want to call yours. My grandma was alive long enough to meet my oldest boy. She was pretty gnarly by then with her arthritic hands and curved back, but Will never reacted the way other kids did. He loved hanging out with her. Most children are scared of really old people and how they move and talk. Not Will. He stole her chocolate chip cookie and ran as fast as he could into the kitchen where he gobbled it down. I'm told she forgot so much toward the end, but she kept telling Will stories.

      Here's to grandmas who say and do what they want no matter what.

    2. You are too sweet, Kaykay. :)

    3. Thanks a lot, jennifer. :)

      Robyn, Will is such an amazing kid. I'm sure he misses his great grandma as well.

  3. What a post, Robyn. Definitely a lot of memories wrapped up for your trip. I hope it's a good one even with what's missing due to what you'll have with you that you didn't before. Thank you so much for sharing this piece of yourself with us :D Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

    1. Thanks, Jaclyn. I have so much family to visit, I hope my grandma-thoughts settle down so I can fully enjoy everything else my old summer home has to offer. We're going to my favorite amusement park, first time for both boys. I have a feeling Will won't try any of the rides until it's almost time to leave. I can't wait to see all my cousins and go to my all time favorite pizza place in the whole world! La Pizza House. Mmm. If they let me, I'd eat there every night. (They won't let me.)

  4. Your posts are so thoughtful, and you give us all a glimpse into the real you and that takes a lot of strength and courage. I'm sorry your grandma is gone. I believe with everything in me you'll see her again one day. Just as I'll see my mom and grandparents. Memorial Day weekend and Mother's Day always hit really hard with memories, especially since we stay Memorial Day weekend where my mom grew up in southern Ohio. She lived down there until she was in high school, then the family moved up here. She had an outhouse until high school! I couldn't imagine.

    I'm horrified to hear about your grandpa. I had no idea. I can't imagine what that would be like. I know you'll see him one day, too. I bet your grandma has forgiven him up there, too.

    I've lost all four of my grandparents - both of my grandparents within two months of each other when I was 11, my paternal grandma in 2004, and my maternal grandma in 2007. It really seems like my once large family has shrank down to almost nothing. Gosh!

    I hope your trip is filled with happy memories and new ones as well! Much love to you and your boys! <3

    1. Eleven is such a rough time, then throw in that kind of loss. I do not handle death well. I went to my Aunt Dodie's funeral and vowed never to go to another one. I can't fake emotions or hide the ones I'm feeling. I give myself little pep talks to stop the tears before they fall, "Think ice cream." I did that at my wedding, totally meant it to be a silent talk to myself. Not only did everyone hear me in the middle of the ceremony, but I still cried.

      Your family is shrinking, yet growing too. Thank you so much for the wonderful words. I'm not sure if my grandma has forgiven my grandpa. If heaven allows a person to hold a grudge I have a feeling my grandma is still wielding her stink eye.

      I'm so spoiled. My goodness, an outhouse until high school...I'd still be talking to my kids about it. "When I was a kid, I had to go outside..." As it is, they have to hear about my walks from the bus stop where us kids grouped together on the look out for the two German Shepherds that routinely escaped. In my grandma's town, her old one room school house still stands. Actually, if you ever watched Bridges of Madison County with Clint Eastwood, that's where I spent my summers.

      Here's to new memories and to the ghosts we don't want to let go of.

  5. I don't know what happened to my last comment but it just disappeared. This was my favorite post. Thanks.

  6. I remember Grandma coming out to check on me when I was waiting for the thunderstorms to come in. She would say, "See anything yet?" Whether it was yes or no, she would sit and watch with me. We had a lot of good memories on that porch, such as the time when the cousins came over for a slumber party and we all broke the porch swing. Oh boy, was that fixed fast. :) We'll all go visit her, Grandpa and Dodie with the boys in tow. Maybe see a couple of thunderstorms ourselves. I love, love, love this posting. Thanks, Robby.

    1. I knew you were going to mention the time you guys (not me, I'm sure) broke the swing. Crap, I was there. I just remembered the scraped backs of my legs. Ouch! That swing came down fast! Oh, those thunderstorms. Remember when we fled the pool because of the lightning and had to hurry over to Aunt Gene's. We had to stay overnight and I ate so many oatmeal and raisin cookies. You forgot to mention the ice cream. The whole time we're in Winterset, I will have a cone in my hand. I will. Don't laugh at me. (or pizza if you let me eat at La Pizza House everyday...think mom will let me?)

  7. *hugs* Robyn! I'm crying right now, because I know (kind of) how you feel. I had a special place for all my summer vacations when I was between 4-5 years and until I was at least 17 (when I didn't want to go there anymore). I spent that time with my grandma, my grandpa's sister and her husband, as well as lots of kids from different places who also came to spend their summer vacation on that island.
    The memories are awesome, but kind of bittersweet, and thanks to the internet, I have actually found some of those vacation friends again.
    I love how eloquently you get your feelings across, Robyn :) Beautiful post.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    1. Hi Lexxie! That's so cool you've connected with your childhood friends again. The memories are so vivid I can almost wave my hand through them like some fantasy special effect, but the emotion seems to hit me from both timelines. You're right, it is awesome and bittersweet at the same time. There's nothing like those years with grandparents and long summers. Thank you for the good words! Have a great week!!

    2. Thanks Robyn! I hope you're having a good time - making new memories with your children, while revisiting your own.

  8. This was beautiful Robyn! Sorry to hear you are taking a break from Think Out Loud, I so look forward to your posts. I will anxiously wait for your return!

    1. Thank you for the good words, Think! I will miss posting. I think their will be an uprising if I even think of bringing my computer along. Before I started writing I had actual hobbies. Amazing! Have a great week, Think!!

    2. I just noticed I wrote Think 4 times. Heck, I need a break from writing.

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks Jodie! It's going to take me a bit to catch up on my favorite bloggers, but I'll be stopping by!