My Grandma had a massive and profound influence on my life, and I owe her a lot. She died shortly after my 18th birthday, and now I’m 30 I still miss her. She lives on in memories, though, and in turns of phrase and little sayings that she had. Her parting words as we left after a visit were always “If I don’t see you through the week I’ll see you through the window.” With reference to some victorious Glaswegian boxer she had heard interviewed on the radio decades previously, she would often tell us “I said I’d dae it and I done it.” And many were the times she praised me with the words “The boy done good.”
She lived in the one house for as long as I knew her, the former family home, and latterly had a friendship with a neighbour who lived out the back, across the communal path that separated one row of terraced houses from the next. This neighbour was a heavier, but not unpleasant, woman, and often she would be round having tea when we routinely called in. My Grandma eventually fell out with her, a story my sister reminded me of today, and I still remember her indignation at the time.
This woman, Pat, called round one Sunday afternoon, chapping the back door as was the norm. My Grandma let her in, and in the course of the conversation Pat let slip that she had half expected us to be there – “But I looked out my window, and I could see in your window that it didn’t look like you had guests, so I just came over.”
My Grandma expressed surprise at this revelation. “You can see in my living room window from your house?” she asked.
“Well, yes, if I go in the back bedroom and stand on a chair.”
I still remember my Grandma telling us this story on our next visit – not just the nerve of this woman, but the fact she had so brazenly admitted to habitually just having a gaze into my Grandma’s front room. She laughed at the recollection, but she wasn’t happy.
I think that’s what I remember best about her, her laugh.
If I try hard, I can still hear it.
I miss it.