Saturday, May 8, 2010

D'Ann Fago: Nauna

A Kentucky Woman, by D'Ann Fago.
My grandmother was the rebellious type. She practically never set foot in church in her life. She was a great reader, and also deeply interested in the world and what was going on, so she listened to the radio a great deal. She was up on everything, it seemed—ideas, people. She had a sense of the world outside. She voted for Norman Thomas when he ran for office back in the twenties. She was far bolder in her social ideas than my grandfather, who was a good Republican. She was remarkable. She even dipped into the stock market. She was a real rebel, but she didn’t put that into action. She retreated, and seldom left the house except for a funeral.
She made odd friends because she was odd. The Calumet baking powder people came to Lexington and bought a huge place, Calumet Farm it was, and they raised racehorses, and it was a large establishment. My grandmother became very good friends with Mrs. Wright, the matriarch, who remembered the first can of baking powder that people used to sell on the street. She was an interesting woman, and she and my grandmother hit it off very well. I had to go to their farm to these little birthday parties she would hold for her granddaughter, which I didn’t enjoy at all. I remember Mrs. Wright had a shaggy fur coat that she said was monkey fur.
My grandmother had her own way of dressing. She made a kind of housedress thing, only she’d take a long square of material she liked and just cut a hole in the top and put it over her head and then sew elastic onto the sides and tie it in the center, and there it was. It went to the floor, back and front. It was not made to call attention; it was utilitarian. It was comfortable. It lopped over on the sides so her arms were kind of covered. It was very easy to wash, easy to iron, and she slipped it on and she was dressed. But she didn’t really go out very much. She was very selective about where she went. She was not a great one on social clubs.
She had her easy chair with the radio beside it, and God help you if you interrupted a broadcast she was interested in. I loved her and I knew she was a character and that she had very definite ideas about things.

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