Nov. 4, 2017

Grandma & the Gingersnaps

It was no secret that my grandmother did not like me. To understand my maternal grandmother, you have to understand the era she grew up in and knew most of her life. In her day and time, socially speaking, whom you knew was everything. A person’s financial situation was also very important. We did not know ‘important people’ and we were poverty-stricken.

Although, I do not believe she liked my mother very much, either, I do believe she loved her. After all, that was her daughter so she felt a certain amount of obligation toward her and tried to help with our financial woes.

I know Grandma did not approve of many of my mother’s poor life decisions, either. For instance, she could not stand the fact that my mother married my father, hence, her dislike for me. I was his child so she did not want to have anything to do with me. That fact was made very clear to me by my Grandmother early on. I grew up knowing that she didn’t like me so her disposition never made much difference to me.

I remember one time asking my mother, “Why doesn’t Grandma like me?”

We were in the car waiting for Grandma to come outside. She was going with us for whatever reason. My mother looked in the rear view mirror and said, “She does like you. She loves you very much.”

“It’s okay, Mom. I don’t like her, either.”

“That’s not very nice to say,” Mom scolded. “Don’t you think that might hurt my feelings since she’s my mother?”

“No,” I answered honestly. “She doesn’t like me. I don’t care what you say, I know she doesn’t and I don’t care. I only wanted to know why.”

It was years later, I learned it was my pedigree that she highly disapproved of. It’s okay. I disapproved of it, too.

However, that conversation ignited my mother’s desire to prove me wrong. She encouraged me to go over and visit with Grandma and spend time together. Grandma only lived a few blocks away and it was within walking distance so I went over to visit one afternoon.

I went into the house. She was in the kitchen baking gingersnaps; my least favorite cookie. To this day, I hate gingersnaps. I sat at the kitchen table and watched as she went about busying herself with pulling a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven.

“Do you want one?” Grandma asked.

No, I did not want one, but remembering my mother’s tutelage to always be polite when someone offered you something, I accepted. Slowly, I nibbled at the cookie until it was gone. To prevent her from offering me anymore, I made some excuse to leave and went back home. When I got home, Mom was just hanging up the phone from speaking with Grandma.

“What happened?” she asked, somewhat irritated. “I did not tell you to go over there and eat her out of house and home!”

“What do you mean?” I inquired. I really had no idea what she was talking about.

“Grandma said she was baking cookies you ate almost a whole batch by yourself! Those are for her church ladies. I cannot believe she offers you one and you made a pig of yourself,” my mother yelled.

“Mom, I did not eat all of her cookies. I ate one!” I said in defiance. “They were gingersnaps!”

With that admission, my mother started laughing. When I revealed the flavor of the cookie, she knew her mother had lied about me. It was determined from then on that I would just stay home and not visit my grandmother anymore, at least, not without someone with me. 

I am usually reminded of that day whenever I see gingersnaps, but not in a bad way.  I just fondly think of my grandmotehr as I chuckle to myself.