Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Memories in a Glass of Ginger Ale

So, the other day I was going to the refrigerator for something to drink. Now, anyone who knows me knows there really is only ONE beverage for me--TAB! (And to those of you wondering, yes they still make it-and no I don't buy it on e-bay-they still have it in all the major grocery stores here in Maine--right next to the Moxie!) But-having been so nauseous lately I decided I might try to go a little easy on the Tab for a while. So what to choose? Why ginger ale of course.
As I poured my glass I was flooded with memories...how a bottle of soda could bring such a rush of memories, I don't know but it did. First I was back at Grammy and Grampa Smith's apartment on 17 Denison Street in Hartford, CT. I'm sure my sisters and all my cousins on my Dad's side of the family have the same memories. We'd arrive at the brick apartment building-park and race inside the front door into the foyer to fight to be first to push the buzzer for Grammy and Grampa's apartment. They would have to buzz us in and we'd race up the four or five steps to the second door, again fighting to be the first to get to the door. Somehow no matter what time of year or day of the week, someone in that building was always cooking a pot roast that could be smelled throughout the building--and I know Grammy Smith cooked her share of them for us! In my mind's eye I can still go room to room in that small apartment. From the bedroom, to the claw foot tub in the bathroom, to the small kitchen with the hanging towel rack--I see and feel and smell it all. Grampa always in a starched white shirt always offered us a ginger--soda was not something we drink routinely at home--this was special! A short straight-sided highball glass with one ice cube. (We probably only got one ice cube because everyone must remember fighting to get an ice cube from those damned aluminum ice trays!) Then we'd play with plastic pop-it beads and visit with Grammy and Grampa who always made us feel like we were their FAVORITE grand children (I'm sure my cousins all felt the same when they visited too!) until we all crowded around the small table for dinner--life was simple and sweet.
Then I remembered ginger ale when I was sick. For some reason whatever the illness in our family, the tried and true cure all was ginger ale and a saltine cracker or dry toast-if you kept the ginger ale down. I don't know what the magic medicinal properties of this potion were, but when Mom gave it to us it always seemed to work!
Very special occasions also called for ginger ale, too! When it was a rare family outing to a fancy restaurant, Mom would dress us all up in our best party dresses and off we'd go--does anyone but me remember how much those starched petticoats under our fancy party clothes made by Mom scratched our legs? Then when we were all in place we might be allowed to order a Shirley Temple! Now anyone under "a certain age" may not even know who Shirley Temple was--but she was an icon--a child star-and model for a doll we all craved and for some reason had this fancy cocktail named after her. And what was in this "fancy" drink? Ginger ale with maraschino cherry juice mixed in (to make it look pink) and of course a cherry on a fancy toothpick in some kind of fancy glass! When we were served these we knew it was a special occasion!
Most recently, having been in the hospital with an infection in this stupid incision--I was not allowed anything by mouth for about 4 days. IV fluids can only taste so good! Finally, I was allowed ice chips-still not exactly anything to get too excited about. Then on the fifth day--I graduated--- to you guessed it--ginger ale and ice chips! Nothing ever tasted so good!! So now I'm on the mend again--psyching myself up for my first chemo treatment this morning-followed by (hopefully) only minor nausea and other nasty side effects--but I know I'll be fine--because I've got plenty of bottles of ginger ale memories in the fridge! Cheers, Nancy


  1. Hi, Thinking of you with lots of love. New to this blog thing but I'll try. I remember also the buzzer at Grammy and Grampa's, toy soldiers you knocked down with a ball, pink grapefruit for breakfast (salt for sweetner, watching the beauty school out back and the thrill of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Also Grammy taking us shopping for a special gift at Foxe's I think. I guess by the time daughter #4 came along the Shirley Temples were more common!

  2. I too am new to this blog thing!! Unlike my mother (Barb), I at least know what a blog is! My kids will be proud of me for figuring this out! I have to comment about Grammy's apartment. Nancy, so right you are about that pot roast smell!! I could never identify the smell, but you hit it! Remember Grammy's party line? We'd pick up the phone only to hear some other lady talking!!! I remember the toy soldiers too Joanne! I think that was the only toy she had, but we didn't seem to mind. I remember the distinct crick on the floor board between the bedroom and living room when you stepped on it! You're so right about Grammy making us all feel special. Given that I was the last grandchild, I have no doubts that I was indeed the "favorite"!!!!!