Monday, July 14, 2008

The Cleaning of Houses, part I

A little prologue...
My great-grandmother, whom we affectionately entitled Nanny Holland, loved to tell stories of her younger years. I many, many times found myself at her knee engrossed in the tales she would recount. I sat, mentally engraving every word. Fervent, if not begging, for more of the narrative. Listening to her description of a more simple time and existence. One of these stories she would always share with me with a diminutive smile on her face, and I can’t help but smile myself whilst imagining it.

Nanny or Wanda (her name) was married at 18. Young for our time, but it was pushing on old maid in hers. She was from a small town in southern Idaho, and eligible bachelors were hard to come by. She was lucky enough to find the love of her life and the father to her three daughters though, and after a short courtship settled in the same town as her mother and two younger sisters.

This she felt was a blessing to have her dear mother so close, but to one exception... After the wedding Nanny’s mother informed her daughter that she would be coming over to her (Wanda’s) house in the morning but gave no reasoning behind her motive. She did tell her it would be early because of her many pressing chores she had as a single mother and with a farm to tend to.

Nanny woke especially early to make sure her house was in tip top condition for the expected visit. When her mother did arrive, she only stayed for a moment, and then excused herself to leave, but not without informing Nanny she would return again the next morning just as early.

This happened for the next few days, and on one particular morning Nanny chose not to get up as early to do the tiding up that needed to be done before her mother’s arrival. When her mother got to the house, she herself started to do the cleaning the house was in need of, leaving any daughter/woman embarrassed of being indolent and slothful. Her mother rectified the situation in record time (according to Nanny) and was off again to her own home with barely a word to her daughter. Nanny stopped her mother and asked what it was all about. Why the daily visits? Why cleaning her house when she (her mother
) had her own to do?

Nanny’s mother informed her that she would not have Frits (or Pappy, Nanny’s new husband) think that she had raised a daughter that didn’t know how to properly clean a house, and she would come over every morning to make sure it was done as it should be. And if not, she would do the work herself. Nanny, not wanting to endure the embarrassment of the day before, was sure to have her house in tip top shape that day and every day since. (Nanny found humor in doing this to her own three daughters, but I believe with not quite as much fervor).......

Part II, soon to come....

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