Thursday, May 6, 2004

See Ya in the Funny Papers

In Loving Memory of
Ella Belle Camden Devine
October 21, 1914 to April 4, 1986

I remember going to church with my Granny Devine almost every Sunday when I was a little girl. She had her special row and pew where she always sat – four rows back from the front, piano side. It was always taken for granted that this was where Granny would sit.

I also remember her using the hymnal as a back support during the sermon. Her back was swayed from many years of hard work, but I can vividly remember her back bending in the opposite direction as she slid the hard book behind the small of her back. How did that little book help her back? At the tender age of 8, I had no doubt that this little ritual helped
Granny’s back pain. She told me it helped and that was all I needed to know.

Blind faith – I had that with my Granny when I was little. I thought she was the greatest woman on earth. She could cook a feast for 12 in her tiny kitchen, whip up new curtains on her sewing machine, and leap small buildings in a single bound. There was nothing that Granny couldn’t do in my eyes. If I hadn’t seen her for a few days, Granny would always say, “I haven’t seen ya in a month of Sundays!” Reading the Sunday comic strips was always a favorite ritual between us, and almost every time I would leave her home, I could count on her saying, “I’ll see ya in the funny papers.”

She made me a leather coat when I was eight or nine. It was three-quarter length, hanging almost to my ankles, and made of the softest leather I had ever felt. I have no idea where the leather came from, but I do know that Granny took it to Cricketeer to sew because the machines were more heavy duty. She also made my sister a coat, so me and Amy matched.

I remember the year that Mom and Dad got us three kid’s new bedroom furniture for Christmas. We all got twin beds with a nightstand and dresser. Actually, Amy and I shared a dresser, but we also shared a room at that time, so I guess it didn’t matter. I was just glad that I didn’t have share a bed with my little sister anymore. Although she is three years younger than me, she could lick like a mule.

That Christmas Eve, after finishing up rituals at Granny’s house, we headed home to wait on Santa. I should have known something special was going to happen because Granny came home with us. That was something she never did on Christmas Eve, but this year she did, and we were thrilled. What we kids didn’t know was that while we were cooking, eating, and unwrapping presents at Granny’s house, our new bedroom furniture was being delivered, unloaded and assembled in our rooms. When we got home that night, we were so surprised!

My bed was a four-poster twin with tall slender posts. Of course, Amy and Brent’s bed were just like mine. But what was different were the new bedclothes and curtains. Amy and I had a pink flowery pattern with ruffles at the bottom of the bed spread and more ruffles around the pillow shams. The curtains were simple and straight, and they were the same pink flowery pattern. Brent’s bedclothes were some type of colonial theme – soldiers, trucks, I’m not sure I really remember mainly because I never went into my brother’s room.

I learned later in life that Santa didn’t bring the wonderful bedclothes for our new beds. Granny had made each and every one, with a little help from my Aunt Ginny Ann. This in itself is amazing when I think back on it, because this was not the only thing Granny had made for us that year.
We each had new jammies, lovingly hand sewn, with coordinating robes, and crocheted house slippers to match. When did Granny have time to do all this? She must have spent the biggest part of her “down time” from Cricketeer laboriously working over her sewing machine to make wonderful surprises for her grandkids.

Granny was always doing a different kind of craft, or sewing another new pattern. I guess this is where I developed my love for crafts. Granny taught me how to crochet when I was ten; I am sure this was something she learned to regret. “No, you’re not holding the hook right. Hold it this way. Now you’ve got the yarn too lose. Don’t pull so hard.”

Crocheting has never been a very strong area of mine, but I have managed to make several family members their own Afghans throughout the years. Whether these Afghans have ever seen the light of day, I’m not sure, but they were a labor of love learned from my wonderful grandmother.

She also taught me how to do embroidery and needlework. I learned this more quickly and actually had fun during the learning process. I think Granny was relieved when I took to needlework, because she steered me away from crocheting after that. Needlework is a hobby that I still enjoy and most of my immediate family has one of my original works.

There is probably not a day that goes by when I don’t think about my Granny Devine. She was such an amazing woman and she is missed by more than just her family. My oldest daughters were only two and three years old when Granny died, and they don’t have many memories of her except for photographs and my remembrances. The only regret I have is that Granny never got to meet my youngest daughter or my wonderful husband. I’m sure they would have loved her just as much as I did and still do.

Miss you Granny – see you in the funny papers.

© Bobbi Rightmyer, May 2004