5:00 Sunday morning. Haley pulls open the blinds and looks out.
“It’s morning, Grandma, can we watch a show?”
“Sure, Haley, which one do you want?” I reach down to the floor where I stashed the remote.
“Charlie and Lola.”
Ok. I figure that if I put it on and hide under the covers I can drown out the light and sound except that Haley is in the mood for some friendly conversation and activity.
I then have a bright idea (maybe Bob is up).
“Haley, why don’t you check to see if Grandpa is up?”
Ok. She heads towards the door to the living room and for some reason has trouble opening it. Oh please, Haley, I think to myself. Try harder. I’m still warm and cozy on my mattress on the floor.
She gets the door open and comes back to our room.
“Grandma, it’s spooky out there.”
“Oh” (trying to sound as if I’m not really there).
She goes back and turns on the light, searches the house, and reports that Grandpa isn’t there.
On goes Charlie and Lola.
Haley resumes (from the day before) her pattern of jumping from the bed onto MY mattress, climbs up the chair and crosses it to the dresser where she jumps onto MY mattress and flings her body onto the bed.
I figure that if I curl myself up into a Grandma-ball, I can evade the 1st plop and just squeeze by the second one, thereby sneaking in a few more Zzzz’s—a not totally relaxing rest but better than nothing.
“Grandma? Grandma. I’m hungry.” Knowing Bob is probably on his walk or headed out early to join Brent, our son, for their annual Thanksgiving dinner shopping, I reluctantly get up and prepare the ritual Cheerios, milk, and whipped cream.
“Grandma. Grandpa always puts a little extra whipped cream on my finger.” “Ok,’ I tell Haley, in my half-comatose state, “Roll up your sleeve.” I start at the elbow and end the whipped cream at the tip of one little finger. Then I shuffle back to bed, hoping that Bob would miraculously appear.
She finishes her whipped cream and comes back into the bedroom for more jumping.
I guess rest is something that’ll just have to wait.
Some more Charlie and Lola, some “The Little Princess,” some discussion about mean Miss Minchin, some argument about Lotte, Emily, and Lavinia, some more talk about Sara’s dad, the war, the bandages on his face, and what happened to Miss Minchin at the end.
“Haley, would you like to see ‘Bee Movie’?”
“Yes, grandma, when?”
“Well, if we hurry, we can make the 12 o’clock showing.”
Haley puts on her clothes OVER her pjs and is ready in a jiffy. Grandma slips into jeans, Uggs, and a sweatshirt, washes face, brushes teeth, combs hair, and we are off.
At the shopping center, Haley decides she really doesn’t want to walk so Grandma carries Haley, an extra jacket, and what-the-heck—blankie too (probably her first movie so she deserves a chance).
Pulling out my credit card and ID plus signing the receipt one-handed was an interesting but achievable predicament.
Then inside, there’s the refreshment counter. Haley spies the popcorn. “Grandma, can we have popcorn?”
“Sure.” Another contortion, the money’s out and the popcorn’s in hand. Then I put Haley down (big mistake). Haley is now at eye-level with the candy.
“Grandma, can we have some of this?”
“No, Haley, maybe later.”
Hand-in-hand I walk and Haley skips to the ticket-taker, who is indifferent to us as he’s sketching a car at his podium. He takes our tickets and instructs us to go past all the M&M and other candy machines (yeah, right) to the last theater.
We go in. It’s dark. The trailers are on. We get to a row we can both agree on. Haley doesn’t like the trailers. “Too spooky,” she says as she squats to the ground.
When the movie begins, Haley sits for maybe half a second taking blankie and putting her 2 seats over (I imagine the scene when we get home and have forgotten blankie.) I eye blankie all the time until Haley is distracted and I can put blankie next to me. A few moments later, “Where’s blankie? I lost blankie.”
“No, Haley, I have blankie here.” She takes blankie and puts it 2 seats away again.
The popcorn was safely between my legs. We were both grabbing handfuls and stuffing it into our mouths. Then Haley wants to hold the popcorn. She only spilled once but I retrieved the bag mostly in tact. Haley watched the movie briefly as she generously gave me handfuls of popcorn.
As the movie was getting more exciting (about 3 minutes into it), she started kicking the seat in front of her occupied by a little kid. I whispered, “Haley, you can’t do that.” She stopped. But then she decided to see what may be interesting towards the end of the row, walking back and forth. Ah, an old (probably 25 or so) lady to hang over. She munched her popcorn and leaned on the lady’s seat. I squatted down and retrieved her and tried to explain theater etiquette to deaf ears. I added the “the rules of the theater are” to sound more ominous.
We moved our seats two more times, Haley pacing back and forth along the row and me motioning to her to come back.
“Grandma, I have to go.”
I knew it was useless to make her wait so with Haley in hand along with blankie, extra jacket, and unfinished popcorn, we went down the long hallway (past the M&Ms) to the front of the theater where the bathroom was. Haley took a small stall.
“Oh, no, Haley, let Grandma help you.”
“But I can do it myself.”
“Let’s go to a bigger stall so Grandma can help you.” A little more convincing and we were in the handicapped stall, I was adjusting the paper seat cover (why do we need that?), and lifting Haley onto the seat. Finally, a quick wipe (always up, I say) and off to the too-high sink. I wash my hands, wipe them and then lift Haley up for her to do the same. She finds the paper towels and dries her hands and then it’s the trek back to the theater.
I cleverly direct Haley to the 2nd to last row where no one is in front of us. Haley resumes her pacing and ends up in an aisle (yes, an aisle!) at the middle of the theater. There she stands to watch the movie only this time she is standing in front of and blocking the view of a mommy who has a kid on her lap.
Leaving precious blankier, I make my way over to Haley and guide her back to our seats.
“Haley, would you like to go?”
So after about 45 minutes into the movie, we are making our way back home.
I remember redeeming my Blue Chip stamps for a ping-pong table.
I wish I had the recipe for Blum’s coffee crunch cake.
I curled my hair to make it straight.
We took Sunday drives.
I loved strawberry flavor straws.
I went to Ohrbach’s and Woolworth’s.
I was a big fan of Howdy Doody, Pinky Lee, and Sheriff John.
I learned how to type on a typewriter.
I attached a tiger tail to my car antenna.
I loved Cubby, Karen, and Pollyana.
I didn’t have to add a zip code to my letters.
I took tests on mimeographed sheets.
I watched the Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show.”
Then I graduated high school, attended UCLA for a bachelors and graduate degree (and got married somewhere in-between), had a baby, worked as a librarian, operations manager, and office administrator, had another baby, greeted my baby’s baby, and eventually started my own website.