Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thelma J.

The clearest memory I have is of cinnamon apples. My sisters and brothers would say fudge—chocolate, or peanut butter, or maple, but I stand by cinnamon apples. Years ago, I mentioned those apples, how sweet, and crisp and unnaturally red, like pickled beats. Someone said they are sold in cans at holiday time, that Grandma didn’t make them, but bought them and served them whenever we visited. I don’t care. I love the memory of her cinnamon apples.

My paternal grandmother will forever be my idea of what a grandmother is. She was a soft, warm bun of a woman, gray-haired and virtually blind. She lived in a trailer a few hours north-west of where I grew up. Everything about her was homemade.

The trailer's crafted-up interior was filled with afghans and crochet dolls. Her chair sat along side a small table she used to keep her large-print Reader's Digest and over-sized magnifying glass. To get to the bathroom, one had to pass through the kitchen and squeeze past the plant table with its buzzing purple glow and trays of african violets. I loved to visit this place, to poke around. There were so many textures.

Grandma died when she was 74 of a heart attack. I don't remember the year or how old I was. I don't remember my reaction to the news or the funeral and dinner after. And yet, how clear it is, her home, her face, her coke-bottle glasses. I can feel her chubby mama's arms and taste the cinnamon apples.


  1. All good grandmas must be named Thelma. Mine is. But, she can see. Holy cow, can she see! She always saw me get into trouble, and I think she could see me growing.


  2. My grandmother, Minnie Moon, shuffled and walked slowly down steps. But her big attitude and her stubborn mind made up for her weak body. I remember that feeling, though, of being at her home and touching her things, looking for treasure.

  3. Ha, you have to watch those grandmas, they act benevolent, but they're still working for the parents. Thanks for reading!

  4. Minnie Moon--what a great name and memory. I plan on being a stubborn ol' bat! :)

  5. My Grammie was only & always Grammie--but big ol'cinnamon bun, yes! Lovely post, Victoria.

  6. I remeber Grandma Wilson also. She was always soft spoken and very polite. She had pictures of all her grandchildren on a wall in the kitchen. I have been blessed with wonderful grandparents. That made up for losing my father when he went to canada. You can read my blog at or
    Its mostly political stuff, not the wonderfully personal material you have here. Keep up that wonderful writing!

  7. Thank you, D.A. I almost wrote that picture wall into this piece, but it didn't work quite right. I'll check out your blog.