My grandparents lived in a house trailer which I thought meant they were rich, always ready to go. Adding to the gypsy understanding that I had of them, Nana and Pop-pop were snow-birds. People banter around the letters OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) but Nana was the OCD-iest. She kept few items on her dresser, but a little perfume bottle ignites memories of her.
It was in the summer months that I was able to live with them. I slept as late as I wanted while Nana did the clichéd OCD cleanings with toothbrushes. She also balanced her checkbook daily and kept trays of red jello ready in the refrigerator, which was in the room next to my dresser.
Nana had a dog, creatively named “Boy”, who was so frightened of storms he would hide in her meticulously organized closet, which never contained more than seven pairs of shoes.
My bedroom, nothing more than a hallway between the kitchen and bath really, was a haven where I would dream, write and hide when necessary, from the Clorox and the yelling due to the dogs muddy paws.
Each rain brought on a cleaning rage, and my Pop-pop would disappear. If she was really bad, he would take me with him for an ice cream and some games of bowling at the machine at Two Guys.
I would hide in my middle bedroom, and lay on the pink chenille spread. There was the time Nana put a roast, right out of the oven, on the bed. I think the pot holders were giving out on her and she had to put it down fast, it left a roasting pan shaped burn mark on the spread. When she didn’t replace it immediately I realized she probably wasn’t rich, because I knew that burn mark would have irked her.
The black shiny bottle had an exclamation mark on it, and the “dot” was , to my childhood eyes, a little shiny diamond. I asked her if I could have it when it was empty, and to my amazement, she told me I could have it now.
It came in handy when the roasting pan briefly ignited the bed-spread, and Nana grabbed her perfume and let loose like she was wielding a fire-extinguisher-forever etching in my mind the fragrance of old ladies and roast beef.
Happy Birthday to our daughter!