One day at Grandmothers when I was 3 years old, all had been quiet. I had been coloring in my color books, and watching Grandmother sew. There was nothing I liked better than to sit on her knees and watch her make me a new dress. The day had been uneventful and I had behaved all day, as I usually did for Grandmother.
When mom came to pick me up and take me home, she must have brought the devil with her, because all heck broke loose when she arrived. What possessed me to do what I did that day; no one would ever know. I never bothered any of Grandmother’s things because she didn’t want me to touch them.
Grandmother had an old style dressing table just inside the bedroom against the wall to the left, and it had her little jewelry box on it with her few pieces of jewelry and her beautiful silver hair brush lying in the middle of the table in front of the jewelry box. That day for some reason her watch was lying on the top of the dressing table beside the brush.
As soon as Mom came in the door, something hit me and I couldn’t control myself. I was standing just inside the bedroom, and I grabbed up my Grandmother’s watch from the dressing table and her silver hair brush.
When my Mother asked me to put them down I shook my head no, and when she asked me to hand them to her I yelled, “NO”! UH, OH! What just came out of my mouth, did I really say that? I heard the word but couldn’t believe it actually fell out of my mouth.
Telling either of my parents no was not the thing to do, but that afternoon I told mom NO for the first time in my life. As soon as it was out of my mouth I knew I was in trouble. Mom was still in the living room, and a split second later when she made a move toward me I took off running toward the kitchen.
The layout of Grandmothers house was a circle. When you came in the front door you were in the living room (facing south) and straight ahead in what should have been a dining room was her bedroom. The two rooms were divided by hanging drapes that were always pulled to the side of the arch way. Then a turn to the right and you were in the small kitchen.
Once you were in the kitchen you took another sharp turn to the right and you were in the only hall in the house that was only about 6 feet long. On the right was a long closet and on the left was the tiny bathroom.
Straight ahead down the hall was the only true bedroom. Then out a door on the right and at the north end of the bedroom you were back in the living room.
The set up for the living room was very simple and open. Just inside the front door to the left was the couch and just in front of it and down a few feet against the east wall was Grandfather’s rocking chair. A floor lamp sat near his rocker and then Grandmother’s rocker sat in the other corner. On the other side of the narrow room was a single huge upholstered rocker Grandmother and I could sit in side by side. At the south end of that wall sat the gas stove that warmed the whole house.
In front of the floor lamp that sat between the two rockers on the east side of the room was Grandmother’s coffee table. It was a small oval table with a glass insert and a wooden frame around the top. The table top was perched on claw foot legs.
It was a fairly delicate looking table and rarely was there anything on it but a crocheted doily Grandmother had made. It was only about 14 inches wide and 2 feet long. It was stained a beautiful dark walnut. This table was her pride and joy, and had been made by Grandfather in his wood working days.
When I arrived at the door to the living room, the third time around the house with Mom right on my heels, I felt Mom grab the ties on my dress and I knew it was all over.
The only thing I could think to do was to get rid of the brush and the watch. I had one in each hand and I let them fly one at a time. I threw the watch first which was in my right hand and luckily it ended up on the couch in front of me. It just skidded along the soft upholstery and came to rest in the corner at the other end.
The brush flew out of my left hand, with a right hook, through the air past Grandfather who was sitting in his rocker. It barely missed his head and landed right in the middle of the coffee table. It hit with a loud bang, breaking the glass, sending sharp pieces flying everywhere. There was glass in Grandfather’s lap and all the way to the door of their bedroom.
The fact that I didn’t have the items in my possession any longer didn’t save me from a spanking. Mom was so angry at me for running from her and telling her no, that she gave me a pretty good one that day.
I am sure Grandmother, for the first time in my life, wanted to paddle me too for breaking her table. But she refrained as she always did, and just gave me a stern look that broke my heart.
My dad took the table to the lumber yard he managed and put new glass in the top. When she received it back from dad, at no charge for the glass, all was forgiven. But I never forgot the look on her face when I had broken her beautiful table. I never wanted to get that look again.
Grandmother’s coffee table looked so good when Dad fixed it, no one ever knew that the devil had visited her house one day and made me break the glass. To contact Sandy: [email protected]