If Grandma ever owned any clothes other than dresses, I never saw her in them. Blue, I believe, was her favorite color, either printed or plain, but not patterned. (Except for a tartan skirt which I seem to recall her wearing on occasion.)

She would sit there, always the lady, with her legs crossed politely at the ankles, hands resting comfortably and clasped in her lap. A plain, simple sweater often wrapped about her shoulders, left unbuttoned to show the "pearls" she liked to wear and the brooch which often adorned her breast. Earrings, more large and decorative than practical, always clung to her earlobes. I often wonder if even Grandpa ever saw her without them.

She wore glasses, preferring the heavier, darker, plastic-rimmed types to the lighter, metal-framed glasses. Red lipstick, always; eye make-up, not that I recall. Face powder, rouge, body talc, always. Open a powder-puff compact and take a sniff. That would be Grandma.

She hummed a lot, especially when she was busy with some daily routine. She sang, too, but mostly she just hummed.

Grandma was a teacher. My teacher, in fact, in grade 2. I don't think I went to the bathroom once that entire year. I was afraid to raise my hand in case she asked me to speak. And what would I call her then?! I knew her only as "Gramma", but the other kids called her "Mrs. Simpson". I wasn't even sure who "Mrs. Simpson" was! (Hey! I was only seven years old, okay?) So I suffered in silence. Unless called upon to answer a question, I never volunteered. I think Grandma sensed this in me and helped to make the year as painless as possible.

Always the teacher, Grandma brought her skills home with her, handing out little tidbits of information, usually aimed at our health and safety. "Chew your food at least 22 times before you swallow." "Bend at the hips, not at the waist." "Don't stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow."

Most of them made sense. Many remained lost to us, but we did them anyway. At least whenever Grandma was around, lest we encourage her wrath with a sharp wrap across the knuckles with whatever implement was available at the time.

I think, though, that the thing I remember most about Grandma was her feet. She had the tiniest feet of any woman I knew. It always amazed me that she could remain upright, but I guess she'd had them so long, she knew how to use them properly.

Grandma was a slow, deliberate speaker, with a somewhat raspy, gravelly voice that could carry on the wind like a feather. Over the telephone wires, though, it carried more like a high-speed dentist's drill. No need for extension phones. Grandma's conversation could be heard by everyone in the room.

Perhaps she didn't understand the technology, that she didn't have to shout to be heard. Yet, when she sang to herself, her voice could lull you to sleep with its sweetness, gentleness and sensitivity. And rarely was there a sweeter, more gentle, more sensitive woman than my Grandmother, Jenny.


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Introduction
Hugh Simpson
Hugh & Jenny - Together


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