When I was very young, my grandpa died and Grandma was forced to live alone. Alone in a tiny house situated on a dirt road next to a deep, swampy lake. My dad, mom, and I, and sometimes one of my siblings would make the 50 minute trek to her house every Saturday evening to visit and we’d return home late at at night when it seemed as if the rest of the world was in the midst of heavenly REM.
On those trips, I rarely ever received presents from my Grandma Weinhold. With 8 children of her own and 25 grandchildren, I felt as if I was swimming in a sea of cousins, aunts, uncles, and the occasional untrained dog that would join the crowd. Family gatherings were scarce and every one of my cousins was anywhere from 3-18 years older than me. And weird as it was, I really didn’t know any of them. Don’t ask me why because I haven’t a clue.
One time we visited Grandma at Christmastime and as my mom and dad sat in her living room droning on about day-to-day life and blah, blah, blah, I glazed over with boredom wishing I’d brought my paper dolls or Spirograph from home. During the dull adult conversation, Grandma casually mentioned that my cousin, Peter, had visited earlier in the day with my aunt and uncle and that she’d sent him home with a gift. A Gift? He got a gift? My ears instantly perked up and I sat at attention when I realized the possibility that I might be sent home with some Christmas loot, as well. Sure enough, she pointed out a package that was neatly wrapped on the floor and said it was for me. For me!
I never got stuff from grandma so this was a rare and exciting occasion. I took the gift home, placed it under the tree (only cause my mom made me), and shook the package in the days that followed right up until Christmas Eve. When I was finally allowed to open it, I discovered a Raggedy Andy doll inside. Hmm. Odd. Why did I get Raggedy Andy and not his BFF, the coveted Raggedy Ann doll? I was convinced that Grandma had made a mistake and that Peter was sent home with the girl doll that had been intended for me (and wondered how he was enjoying it). I loved Andy just the same and discovered after I’d had him for a few months that he had mechanism embedded in his back and he could play a jazzy little tune for me whenever I mustered the strength to wind him up.
Eventually due to mounting health issues, Grandma moved to a nursing home and to my surprise, she sent me yet another present. When I tore the wrapping off this one, I was pretty pumped up because it was hip and mod — and everything I really wasn’t as a 10 year old little kid. I knew as soon as I saw it I’d be the talk of the bus stop. Crochet was sooo cool and although I had friends whose moms made them beer can hats or granny square vests from scraps of yarn, none of them had a groovy purse like this purse Grandma had given me. And how impressed I was that my grandma, now in her 80’s, had enlisted one of her nursing home pals to make a snazzy fashion accessory just for me!
It was red and black — not my first color choice — but it was big enough to hold small dolls, pennies, and Tootsie Pops; all the essentials a hip elementary schooler needed. But there was one thing about the purse that started to drive me a little nuts. As mentioned, the purse was red and black yarn, but the lining inside of the purse was raspberry pink. And yes…you could see the pink peeking through between the spaces of the red and black granny square exterior. I used the purse for a while since I’m sure my friends weren’t as obsessive about matchy-matching color as me. They probably didn’t notice the color melee with which I struggled, but ultimately the purse’s incohesivness became too much for me to bear and I hung it in my closet and forgot about it.
The other day, after many moves and millions of years, I ran across that purse that Grandma have given me many years ago. After checking inside to see if I’d forgotten about a hundred dollar bill or 3 carat diamond ring I may have absent-mindedly placed inside of it as a child, I scrutinized the exterior. Yup. It was still red and black and the lining was still raspberry pink. And you know what? The mismatched color combination still bugs me as much as it did when I was a not-so-hip kid.
Are you as petty and freakish about color as I am or are you able to chalk color and pattern mismatches up to being “artistic” and expressive? Please share your comment below!