Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The day that my grandma taught me the art of creating a memory with a ridiculous amount of shoes.


Lately I've been gathering memories of my grandmother who passed away in 2004. She was a pistol and taught me many life lessons that serve me to this day in my adult life. One day in particular has been swirling around in my heart. It was the end of summer in 1989 and I was spending an afternoon with Mammaw doing some back to school clothes shopping. At the time, Keds were popular and I just had to have a pair to add to my fall wardrobe. I remember heading into the shoe department at JcPenny's and standing before the mirror with crisp white Keds hugging my feet. I looked at Mammaw with hopeful eyes as she smiled and said "Well, I think we just have to buy those."

As we walked down the mall together she pulled me into another shoe store and said "I wonder if they have those Keds in red?" We waltzed in, found them, and walked out of the store with another pair of shoes. I felt so spoiled as we walked down the mall arm and arm with my two bags in tow."You know what?" Mammaw said as we walked into Dillard's (which was just a few doors down from the other shoe store) "I think that you need those shoes in yellow too."

I followed her into the shoe department as she asked the saleswoman to grab me a pair of yellow Keds to try on. Those yellow shoes had not been on my feet for thirty seconds when she told the lady to grab us a pair of orange ones too. To my amazement, she bought me both pairs. It was unheard of to buy four pairs of shoes in one day and I remember feeling so special. It didn't stop there either. We walked up the mall and stopped in every shoe store that carried Keds. We found green, blue, black, pink, baby blue, and purple Keds. She ended up buying me ten pairs of shoes that day.

I remember feeling overwhelmed and beyond happy that she had spoiled me so. I had asked her to stop as she paid for pair number five but she insisted that we keep on shopping until I owned a pair of Keds in every color. She told me that she wasn't just buying me shoes but that she was creating a memory. I was only fourteen at the time and didn't really see the significance other than the fact that I now had an awesome pair of shoes to match any outfit that I wanted to wear to school.

Now, as an adult, I look back on that lucky afternoon and smile. I may no longer own all those Keds in every color but I do own the memory. She taught me so much that day. Sometimes it's nice to go out of your way to do something out of the ordinary for the people that you love. Choose something so indulgent and special that the excitement settles in both of your hearts forever. I have many memories of my fun times with Mammaw that are not quite as exorbitant but this one stands out the in my mind often.

I remember when we drove away from the mall that the backseat was filled high with all the bags of new shoes. I gave her a kiss on the cheek and thanked her for being so generous. She patted my knee and said "I hope that you'll think about this when you're an adult and remember how special you are." Well, it was not lost on me after all because I look back on that shopping excursion and feel her love to this day. I hope to create many outrageous memories for my children and grandchildren. Her love and excitement for life will live on with every ridiculous memory that we create.

19 comments:

Snuggle Wasteland said...

You had a very kind and wise grandmother. My own grandmother passed away in 2001 and I think about her every day.

That One Mom said...

AW, Leigh! This memory had me in tears! What a special memory! I miss my grandparents every day. They really are special people. Thnak you so much for sharing this important lesson!

lauren said...

I remember those Keds, Leigh! And your long curly hair and plaid mini skirts (this was before we adopted the grunge look) and your contagious smile and I thought, 'man, I'd love to be her friend'. and not just so I could borrow your shoes!

The Only Girl said...

I love this story! What a wonderful Grandmother you had!

Rochelle@AFamilyofLooneys said...

What a beautiful memory you have of your grandmother. She sounds like she was such a special person.

R Montalban said...

That is just the best story I have read and yep, what a memory and lady your Mammaw was to have thought that up - definitely a wise woman who knew how to make lasting memories with those she clearly loved. Thank you too for passing it on as I too will remember that so her lesson not only was passed to you but also to those who you shared it with and took it on board - aargh me hearty, I'm on that there poopdeck!

knickknacks said...

Thank you for sharing this precious memory & life lesson with us, Leigh! :)

Just Jen said...

That is an awesome memory to have. I lost my grandmother when I was 13, in 1994. I still think about her everyday, and sometimes can smell her.

singedwingangel said...

Ok first of all do you know From Tracie.. she would LOVE the shoes lol... and I think that is a cool memory.. My memories center around food which is probably why it and I have a love /hate relationship lol

Candra Georgi said...

This is so awesome, I'm inspired to go out and buy keds in every color for someone now!

Big Fat Gini said...

Oh my goodness, I'm crying! My Granny has always had a thing for Keds and I remember paging through her shoe catalogs every month just to see what the latest styles were. I still buy them now, even though I'm 30 years old. But there's something so special about them.

What a wonderful story!

Sue said...

Perfect! Sounds like a day with Auntie Mame...

What a cute grandma, and she left you a wonderful lesson (albeit a pricey one).

=)

~ Lori ~ said...

I miss my grandmother too... I loved your blog.

Just wanted you to know that I have nominated you for a One Lovely Blog award!

http://justmeandmylife-lbuckner.blogspot.com/

Kristy said...

Because I just lost my dear grandma, I have been thinking of so many things that I will carry on in her spirit. I hope my child and my niece and their children will learn from me like I did from my grandma. The world is a brighter place because of grandparents, you know?

Carrie B said...

That is just the best story I've heard in a long time.
Love it!
Now, that could be because I love shoes too. :)

Joy said...

Wow, such a special memory you shared. Inspires us to make memories now with our kids.

heidigiffin said...

What a sweet memory. My Nana would do that, too - turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. She's one of my favorite people and I'm so sad that she doesn't know her namesake, my daughter.

Carrie said...

That has got to be one of the coolest stories I have ever heard! Thank you so much for sharing it with the rest of us - and what a great reminder!

urban muser said...

this is a beautiful story. i just love it, thank you for sharing it.