When my family visited Grandma and Grandpa, no staged historical setup could rival their living museum.
Neither learned to drive. When they left their tiny town — a rarity — they took a Greyhound bus.
Grandpa plowed with a horse named John. Grandma wore sunbonnets while gardening and bringing cows home. The animals obligingly produced creamy milk my grandparents churned, plunging the dasher up-down, up-down. I could barely raise it, but Grandma helped me shape butter in a wooden mold etched with flowers.
They drew water from a well. Its iciness felt good on steamy days when we bathed in washtubs.
Grandma and Grandpa didn’t own a television. We grandkids barely survived a week without “Gilligan’s Island,” almost forgetting the words to the theme song (gasp)!
To our dismay, our grandparents’ diet centered on their garden’s produce — collards, okra, and black-eyed peas. At night, smothered in featherbeds on sweaty, 90-degree nights, we wondered if we’d live to see the light of day.
I decided I would never grow that old. My house would never become a museum.
Fast-forward several decades. Our grandson stares at our phone. “You have a landline?”
His tone implies, do you also wear a bustle?
“Yes,” I said, “but we own smartphones, too.”
When I demonstrate I can turn mine on, he looks relieved. Still — “What’s that curly thing on your landline?”
“A cord. All phones used to have them.” I chuckle. “Does look like a Slinky.”
“What’s a Slinky?”
While Hubby and I possess reasonably current laptops and tablet, our grandchildren, accustomed to über-fast technology, consider them fossils, incapable of supporting all-important video games. One child even asks where we dug them up.
We attempt board games instead, playing our own Trivial Pursuit. The teens didn’t know a thing about Betty Ford, leisure suits or other crucial 1970s facts.
Even our children consider us relics. Why? Just because we drive a 10-year-old sedan. Because I play a piano powered up only by my fingers. That not only stacks of CDs and DVDs clutter our home, but cassette tapes I rewind with a pencil point because boom boxes’ features have died. We even own a turntable and vinyl records.
Our kids try to update us. Now proud owners of a Keurig® coffee maker, Hubby and I claim to be cool.
In return, we attempt to give them perspective: “Hey, we possess items older than we are.”
When they stare in disbelief, we point to Great-grandma Norris’s china and silverware. Great-grandma Phillips’s wedding chest. Great-uncle Clarence’s World War II flag with 48 stars.
They are visiting a museum for free, too.
That’s what grandparents are for, right?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What relics resided in your grandparents’ home — besides them?