Monday, February 21, 2011

She taught me how to make a bed

My Gram taught me many things. She taught me how to be tough, she taught me how to listen but most of all, she taught me how to make a bed. When we were little, my Gram had a large house, well it was really humongous lol, in Shamokin Pennsylvania. Her and my Pop pop had a beautiful detailed garden in the back with a bridge along a lighted pathway. They had horses to the right in a small pasture. After they retired, my Gram had always had a dream of opening a bed and breakfast, so they did just that and eventually turned the humongous Shamokin house into a gorgeous bed and breakfast. When we would go visit, I remember sitting with my sister on the flower colored couch in the glassed in porch and picking through one of the old dusty books she kept on the white built-in-to-the-wall bookshelf.  We'd snuggle up and look outside at the garden through the rain droplets on the window panes and all the family issues we were going through at the time at home seemed so far away.  She had these funny manaquins that she would arrange in the windows so that when we drove past the house to go home or when we arrived, we'd see this spooky figures in the windows! After a few years, they decided being in another state was just too far away from family, so they decided to move to Cape May NJ. They built a large house with an enveloping porch that held a long row of wooden light gray blue rocking chairs. They again made their garden, only this time added a coy pond, so that every time we came to visit we could go out and watch the fish and their babies swim. There were two extra bedrooms upstairs. My sister and I would share one large bed in one of the rooms with  my brother in the other room. Maybe it was because of her experience with the bed and breakfast, maybe she was just great at making others feel at home, but after a long day and usually a long drive to come visit, I would race to the top of the carpeted stairs, stop at look at the old black and white photos, from my great great parents, to my Gram and Pop pops wedding photo, to baby pictures of my elder family members, and then past the quilts in layers hanging on the wooden holder to my left, until I reached the bedroom. Our room had a large bookshelf, with a single wooden chair along the wall that held a stuffed bunny. The wooden bed frame rested below a oval picture of woman who I always thought curiously about. Was she a relative? Was she my great grandmother? Why did she part her hair that way? Why was she smiling? To the right of the bed was an old fashioned bason built into a wooden holder with a mirror attached above and a shelf that held the pitcher below. I'd pull off the top layer of an old fashioned victorian looking comforter to the next layer of a soft blanket usually colored light blue or pink that had a silk 1 inch line the top.  I don't know where these blankets have gone, but they were the best and I never see them sold anymore! I'd lift the next layer of smooth sheets and slide my feet down in between them. There would always be two pillows, the top, we'd toss on the floor, and the bottom we'd sink our heads into.  Pulling the covers up to my shoulders felt like being tucked in, but not like any other tuck in. It was like being enveloped in a smooth soft peaceful blanket. It was like falling asleep to the most cheesy Christmas movie, knowing that someone would shut off the movie and bring you up to bed. Looking around I notice the plug in candle sticks that she always had in the windows, when they glowed the room felt so whimsical. Like she was lighting the way for us to come back after dreamland, the whole house softly glowing. No Christmas lights, so big outside decorations, just those candles. The warmest place to rest our heads during our parents divorce and after, a comfort during difficult times, a sanctuary safe to fill with dreams.  From fresh smooth sheets everyday, to the next fuzzy soft warm layer to an outside layer of flowers and lace perfectly creased under the double layer of pillows exactly tucked under the mattress to the right tightness, to the endless feeling of warmth and love, my Gram knew how to make the perfect bed.

As I've grown, I've learned how to make our own bed, and hopefully, with love and lots of her help from above, I'll be able to make a bed like this one day for my family.


  1. What a wonderful post. I somehow doubt you will ever have a problem making up a comfy bed. Your Gram's B&B sounds like it was a lovely place.

  2. What a sweet post. I love the imagery of her house, with the big porches, chairs, and warm beds. What a lovely place to have been able to spend time!

  3. Oh Nikki- I have loved hearing wonderful stories of your gramom over the years! She was an amazing ad inspirational person- and I was so lucky to be touched by her through your wonderful tales of her.

    Sending you HUGE hugs.

  4. Lovely tribute to your Gram :) And now I just want to slide into bed and go off to dreamland....sounds so peaceful and I'm so glad you had that during a tough time! Hugs!

  5. Hugs!!! I actually know right where Shamokin is! I've been there a few times! Yay for gram!

  6. You put me right there with you! So very sweet.


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