Well, I am not sure if this is my earliest memory, but it is a scene ingrained in my brain, and it is from my younger days for sure.
My Grandma and Grandpa – my dad’s parents – had this red and white checkered shelf lining (maybe it was wall paper?) on the shelves built in beneath the basement steps at their house. I remember seeing Grandma’s jars of home-canned apple sauce carefully lined up on top of that shelf paper.
Grandma died when I was ten years old. Honestly, I have a horrible memory and can barely remember much except that she was sick with cancer for a while before she passed away. I remember that the cancer drugs did to her what they have done to others many times. The worst part is I don’t remember what she looked like going through all of this. (Maybe I blocked this out?) I just remember once seeing the wig on her dresser.
Since I am like my own mom and cannot smell, there are things about Grandma’s kitchen and her cookies that I have heard, but cannot attest to. What I do remember are pictures in my mind of what the house looked like.
That checkered shelf liner on the basement shelves.
The cardboard packaging and glass bottles that Pepsi came in (in 8-packs!) in the late 1970s and early 80s. Grandpa always had lots of those packages lined up on the lower shelf underneath his basement work bench.
Climbing the tree in the backyard above the old swing.
The Bleeding Heart bush in the back yard. Yes, a shrub with perennial woody stems. The current botanist in me still wonders what exact variety Grandma had planted.
The old metal ice cube trays in the freezer – the kind where you had to lift a lever to crack the cubes apart. I couldn’t do it as a kid. Dad had to do that for me.
People have told me that I inherited some of my Grandma’s traits. Maybe her skills? I am not sure.
But as well-loved as she was, I will take it as a compliment.