All the worldies

Thursday, March 24, 2016

“I’m sending one now,” I said, curling the landline cord around my seven year old fingers.
“It’s just reached me!” I can hear her, fifty-five miles away in Dorset, the smile in her voice. That is how I used to end my weekly phone calls with Grandimarie, my name for my maternal (and only) Grandma. Sending a hug down the phone line seemed like magic to me and it was.
It was with this firm belief that she could tell what I was up to through our landline that Mum once caught me on the stairs in my grass-stained dungarees, a bottle of her trademark Chanel No. 5 in my hand, squirting it down the telephone’s mouth-piece.
“What are you up to, Lottie?” She enquired.
“Just letting Grandimarie smell your perfume,” I said, looking up, all matter of fact and confident.
“Does she like it?” She asked.
“Smells lovely!” Grandimarie’s voice came out louder down the line.
I was never far from Grandimarie’s side. A bond that has grown tighter and deeper as we have got older. The playfulness is still there but my respect for Grandimarie has intensified, the life she had before my Mum and Uncle Andy were born, her evacuation as a teenager during the WWII, losing her only love and soul mate, my Granddad, in her fifties. The enduring love she still has for him and the croak that edges into her voice when his name comes up, still stalls me every time. After Granddad died she moved from a rural hamlet with one bus a week to a lively market town, not being able to drive being a key factor in her decision. 
A strong group of independent ladies forming her friendship circle, she still attends concerts, fundraises for the local hospital and goes on walks - although not as long as the ten-mile rambles she took me on during summer holidays, striding out over Salisbury Plain. Bin-bags to sit on, juice boxes, sandwiches and the familiar smell of sun-cream all packed neatly into her rucksack. Walking boots, and thick socks with trousers tucked in and a floral blouse to allow for a summer breeze –  cloud games, learning the names of wild flowers and scaring off nosey cattle. Those snapshot memories will always shimmer with gold.
The bond I have with Grandimarie is one of respect, admiration, inspiration and love. When we both chuckle down the phone, the age difference isn’t there. This is my relationship goal, forget the hashtags and the trends, this bond is more than just DNA. Our souls are made of the same stuff, our hands are the same size and my Mum, in the middle, is the link that connects us. I want to have this unwavering bond with the children that are in my future, however far away they are.
We still have our weekly phone calls, our inky scrawled letters, our sign-off for the past forever has been “Love you all the worldies.”

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