Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there IS a Mrs. Santa Claus

This is a picture of me with my adorable Grandma. A living, breathing Mrs. Santa Claus. Complete with a starched, white ruffled apron and silver-haired bun. She'd always squeal with delight when she opened her door and found us standing on her front porch, waiting to come in. And then she'd envelop us in big, squishy, bosomy hugs.
This woman brought sheer magic to my childhood.

This is the woman who:
  • never raised her voice, and would choose to sing "tra-la-la" rather than scold;
  • let us drag her bathroom rug and her best teacups outside so we could have in impromptu tea part under the lilac bush;
  • engaged us in a game of Avon Lady ("Bessie") by cheerfully allowing us to gather up armloads of her perfume and shampoo bottles and then ring her doorbell and sell them back to her for a quarter apiece; 
  • would let us build a fabulous block tower, and then leave it up for an entire week, politely asking her club ladies to step around it; 
  • took me on an impromptu roadtrip to Paris, Idaho when I was nine because I complained I'd never been out of the state; 
  • would insist on feeding even a casual visitor, and then take the care to clip a small individual candle to the edge of their plate. 
  • And don't even get me started on Christmas! (That's a post unto itself.)

But the real magic took place in her heart. She had a knack for entertaining, even though they lived their entire married lives in a little tiny duplex. There was an amazing spirit in their home. Everyone who came within the circle of their household felt understood, appreciated, loved. Everyone. And everyone left feeling full. Full of delicious food and little goodies, but also filled with her special brand of enthusiasm and joy. She made everyone feel like the most important person in her life. Made them feel like family. Her home was the center of her universe, the place where she laughed, loved, served, and ministered. And it felt like heaven.

At the base of her front door was a little gold music box which would automatically start to play when she opened the door, and rewind when she shut it again. The song it would play was "Bless This House"...clearly something she lived by. Yesterday I went to lunch with my ├╝ber-chic designer friend, Michelle, and she showed me some of her latest creations. This particular image reminded me of my grandma and the music box on her front door. So much so that I had to have it...for this post, and to frame for my house.*  To remind me that there IS a Mrs. Santa Claus, and I used to fall asleep on her lap. (And tomorrow would have been her birthday.)

*(If you're so inclined, click on the typetypetype link on my sidebar, and you can get one too!)


LisAway said...

That picture is perfect. It looks like it MUST be a still from a famous old movie or something. Just perfect.

What a wonderful grandmother. I especially loved your Avon game. That is so funny and cute.

And I love the music box by the door, and the picture you are hanging in your home. What a wonderful legacy she left behind!

(I sort of thought of that song "Mrs. Santa Claus" when I read about your grandmother. Have you heard it? I've only heard it when Nat King Cole sings it. It's cute.)

Luisa Perkins said...

Beautiful! I had a grandma like that, too. I aspire to be that kind of grandmother someday.

Heather of the EO said...

That picture looks staged. That wasn't an accusation :) I just mean that it's THAT beautiful. Your Grandma sounds so amazing. You've got many of her traits I hope you know.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I'm so jealous! I only had one grandma left by the time I was born and she lived a thousand miles away. I never got to go to her house or build block towers. Your grandmother was incredible! You can tell by the hair-do alone, if nothing else! Whomever took that picture of the two of you is an artist (duh! Your family is full of them, right?)

That Girl in Brazil said...

... like, really? That's really you? WAY too perfect to be really real.

I have a grandma like that too - and I hope I become one in the future!

Melanie J said...

I agree with Lisa. It looks just like a movie still. What a lucky girl you are to have such an abundant life.

Mrs4444 said...

You come from a long line of incredibly loving, nurturing women. What a wonderful legacy she left her daughter and grandaughter; the gift of loving others unconditionally.

I loved the Avon lady story. A little confused about the candle thing, though.

Eowyn said...

I just love this post.

I want to be that kind of person--the one every one can come to. I'm not sure I'm there yet, but I hope to be.

JustRandi said...

I love that picture! What a treasure - along with the memories.

Debbie said...

That picture is so wonderful. I agree with LisAway, I thought it was from a movie or magazine. Wonderful post.

Kazzy said...

Love grandmas, love white hair (on other people), love the standing block towers, etc.

Great memories! Thanks.

Kimberly said...

She sounds too wonderful to have been an actuality. Like a beautiful story that couldn't possibly be true.

Just reading about her makes me want to be better, you know?

April said...

I am sooooo jealous!!! I needed a grandma like that! You are so blessed to have that in your life! What sweet memories. Treasure them forever!

Brillig said...

Oh my gosh, that photo is the most precious thing I've ever seen.

I want to be that kind of person. The grandmas (and, really, my entire maternal line) did not even begin to try to make their homes a place we wanted to be. We were always driven out, told not to touch, and told that we really weren't welcome whatsoever. I so want to be the opposite-- I want to have the kind of influence on others that your grandma clearly had on you and everyone else whose life she touched.

What a lovely, lovely post!

Kristina P. said...

Your grandmother is beautiful!

And all of my bloggy friends are your bloggy friends, so it makes sense that we become bloggy friends.

Seriously, I have always stayed away from the dentist, and it's probably a good thing or else he would impregnate me.

Jessica said...

Charette, you have such an incredible family and extended family! I so love to read about them. It is inspiring, there are so many broken families, and to read about such lovely people and joy-filled homes is a rare treasure. Thank-you for these!