|Omama and I at her 92nd birthday party (a bit out of focus)|
A few days ago, a memory resurfaced and it made me smile. The memory was of me going to work with my granny when I was on holidays at hers. Omama (as we called her) used to work in a small company that packaged tooth hygiene products. I am actually really sketchy on the details, including the age I was when this happened. In any case, it must have been a friendly firm because I was allowed to go to work with Omama. We would leave the house very early in the morning, working hours in Switzerland were and are longer than they are here in Britain and a 7 am start is not unusual, even for an office job. We took a tram and then a bus to get to work. We always stopped at the small supermarket near work and bought lunch. I was allowed the most exotic of foods I could possibly imagine, a pot of super noodles. These were not Asian style super noodles you would find here, but their Swiss equivalents. The choices I remember are thin spaghetti in tomato sauce and instant mash potato with teeny tiny, salty meat balls. These never seemed hydrated completely. I loved them both. We probably got other food, too but I can't remember that. Then, Omama would get changed into her work apron. I don't think I had a work apron. Our job was to put toothbrushes into blister packs, which then would then be sealed closed with a card backing. I remember there being chat and laughter and I loved doing a proper grown-up job. It is quite likely that I didn't actually do all that much!
Although this is a patchy memory only, it is one that I cherish. I really miss my Omama. Of all the people that I have lost through death or that have disappeared from my life otherwise, she is the one I think of most. She died when she was 92 years old, she had just moved into a nursing home. It has been a few years but I have still not deleted Omama phone number from my contact list. I just can't do it. Sometimes I catch myself thinking 'I am going to call Omama and tell her all about it'. I am not much of a phone chatter but I did enjoy calling her. She once talked me through knitting a sock heel, when my brain was mush and my fingers didn't obey. She made socks for everybody. I guess that's my job now.
Omama used to always wear an apron in the house, you know, one of those seventies dress like things. I can't be sure but I think she stopped this after her husband (Opapa) died. He was a figure larger than life and had a booming personality that made Omama appear quite diminutive at times. After he died, she started talking like she had a story to tell. She never really stopped. I had had no idea there was so much chat in her! I enjoyed visiting when I had the opportunity. One year a long time ago Sam, Annie and I went for a rushed visit and then took a train to go back to my mum's. One the first local train we chatted about her age, wondering if we would see her again. I felt so overwhelmed with the thought that maybe we wouldn't, we abandoned the train at the first opportunity and returned - we never even paid for that return journey. We then spent another couple of hours with Omama before we headed back, satisfied that if this was to be our last visit, it was a good one.
Omama has never met James and Alistair, something that makes me sad. She would have liked my two ginger boys. I regret missing the opportunity to take them to Switzerland when she was still alive. Alas, it is too late to worry about this now.
I have a few bits and pieces in my house that remind me of Omama. Her sugar bowl for example, or a little leather case for her sewing scissors and Omama's cross stitched pin cushion.
There are so many other fragments of memories.
Here's a last one for today. Omama used to cook our Boxing Day meal. It was always a ham Wellington with small potatoes, dried green beans and for those really daring eaters, a cow's tongue. The potatoes were of the tinned variety, Omama valued tinned foods, having lived through the Second World War. I sometimes look at those tins in the shop and wonder if I should buy one, just because. I could never bring myself to eat the tongue, or the dried green beans.
What can I say - I miss her.
Thanks for stopping by. Have a great week! xx