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GRANDMA’S STORY-TELLING BED


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To say my grandmother often changed her place of residence would be an understatement, but wherever she moved, there were a few belongings which went with her. Among them were the treasured connections to her New England birthplace. A large old dresser made by her great-grandfather in mid-nineteenth century, the large old Kendall family bible, her mother’s childhood autograph book and diary, and not the least, her large old bed. Fortunately for her descendants, Grandma was a saver. She took great pride in assuring us of our proper place in civilized society. Of course like many others in the Great Depression, we had no money, but you can bet your boots
grandma made sure we had class!

The old bed and dresser, like many of the other pieces of memorabilia, now live my house, having dutifully passed through a generation. Grandchildren and now great-grandchildren have been lulled to sleep while snuggled deep in old quilts made by loving hands of long-dead grandmothers. It has been a favorite beacon for story-telling time, stories ranging from fairy princesses to Ranger Dan and the Cowboys, and it was a great place from which to listen for the sound of Santa’s sleigh bells. The edges of the day called out to small children that if they were very quiet, a story might be waiting in Grandma’s bed.

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I am the Grandma now, and have been for many years. Now Great Grandchildren climb upon the old bed, but times have changed. TV is nearly old-hat, and iPad is close behind. What will be the next digital story-teller to amuse these modern children? On Thanksgiving Day a seven year old Great Granddaughter was seen on the old bed watching the movie “Jaws”. I have never thought of that killer shark being a symbol of the harvest festival, and yet?

As this Christmas approaches, I hope someone will still be held in rapt admiration of the great Santa myth, told with such practiced panache by this Grandma, or will there be something new to entertain?

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Times have indeed changed. I even find that I have somehow shrunk during this past year. Children and grandchildren have always been taller than I, but this year while reaching for the wine glasses for Thanksgiving dinner, I found I could not reach the glasses on the second shelf. It truly is not fair, and I hope an absence of height will not be the legacy I leave. Grandma left her bed, so she will be remembered for that. My mother wanted people to remember her as being fun. But I guess we aren’t in charge of others memories.

The radio has been churning out Christmas music since the day before Thanksgiving, and we will remember Bing Crosby singing about a White Christmas he probably never saw, but the saddest legacy in the music department has to be for poor Gene Autry, who rode herd on countless villains on his trusty white steed, but ultimately will be remembered for writing and singing “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

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11 comments on “GRANDMA’S STORY-TELLING BED

  1. You may have physically shrunk but you have grown in stature for all of us who are lucky enough to know you. You—are 10 feet tall!
    Although as I write this, I now realize your toes will hang over that charming bed.

    We sleep in a Queen-sized bed. It always fit our sleep style just fine.
    Because the Judge is often cold when he gets into bed, he now gravitates over to my side, looking for a hot coal (so to speak). This close proximity turns me into a fire ball.
    I kick off the sheets and blanket…he continues to come closer.

    I need a King-sized bed now.

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    • When Corrine first saw this bed she laughed and said “What a little bed”. I told her we were little people. Either the people or the rooms were small in the 19th century! When sleeping at someone else’s home in a queen or even king bed, I get lost, and Dr. Advice feels lonesome.

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  2. A beautiful old bed.It’s great that you have the bed. Yes, katyti we alll shrink as we age. I am an inch shorter now than about 5 years ago. Loved the grandmother story.

    I’m sorry to say that after hearing Crosby and Autry sing those songs year after year I can ot longer tolerate listening to their Christmas songs.

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  3. Wow! What a beautiful bed. Still love Bing, always will xx

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  4. What a beautiful bed. I’ve read amazing stories of the women who insisted on bringing their dining tables, beds, buffets out to the frontier and across the prairies. They were bringing civilization with them!

    And what wonderful memories of story-telling. When I was very young my mother would read to me in a huge rocking chair. Later, she and dad would sit on the edge of my bed and read. Then, they would turn out the light, go downstairs, and I’d make a beeline for my closet, where I’d sit with a flashlight and read some more.

    My mother really lost height as she aged – perhaps as much as 4-5″. But she never had any real problems – no spinal curvatures and such. She used to call herself “The Human Slinky” – said she just needed to be stretched out a bit.

    There will be someone to hear the Santa story this year. If there doesn’t seem to be, start telling it anyway – you’ll have an audience. What’s that old saying? If you tell it, they will listen? 😉

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    • What a fortunate girl you were to have both parents read to you. I did the same closet thing with the flashlight after they went to bed. I have not lost as much height as your mother yet. Only about 2″. And though no curvatures either, I have been handicapped for a few years from a running injury. I always have a story to tell Dr. Advice whether he wants to hear it or not, and of course, Charlie has no choice, lying in his little bed.

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  5. Very evocative; on this cold damp morning in North Devon reading about this wonderful bed makes me feel very warm and cosy.

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  6. Do the reindeer in America come from Finland as well? If they do, don’t give them carrots. They prefer blue berries or even loganberries.
    I used to be 6ft2″ but am now reduced to a shadowy figure when I slink past the bathroom mirror. I made our first bed from large beams of pine and it travelled all over the world with us. Your bed is so much more decorative. I wonder how many times people walked into the posts at the end of the bed while taking a sharp corner?

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    • Our reindeer come from Disneyland. That is why Rudolph has a red nose from all the sunburn. Those posts at the end of the bed are great for guiding one to the bathroom in the dark, though dangerous should you happen to fall on them.

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