Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Asheville- aka The Perfect Place

The older that Grandma got the more, how shall I say this, the bitchier the grumpier she got. As I am growing older and my body is not acting the same- hurts more, doesn't work as well, seems to be gravitating downward- I understand why people get grumpier in old age.  Especially those who were very full of life and fiercely independent.  It had to suck for my grandmother to not be able to walk normally or not use an arm that was debilitated from a stroke.  It had to suck to rely on others to do things for you that you could do before.  Let's just say she sometimes went way a little too far.  When I was pregnant with Liam and she was seeing me for the first time she said "You're Fat".  It was sometimes hard to take her in public because you never knew what she was going to say.  I remember taking her to the Museum of Art in Cleveland and as I pushed her past the more modern art work she would say in her best stage whisper- "This is crap" or just "Shit".  One time at breakfast at a restaurant with my uncle she sent her pancakes back to the kitchen (quite dramatically) because the pancakes weren't round.  Who would dare serve her this shit.  Sons of bitches.  Even though we all complained about it to each other we just came to expect it and we all just dealt with it because she was our Grandmother/Mother.  She would remind us from time to time that she wiped all of our asses when we were babies you know.

Once a year for three consecutive years I got to see a different side of Grandma.  After Grandpa died Grandma went on a Frank Lloyd Wright kick.  EVERYTHING was in the style of or a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright.  She had read about the Grove Park Inn and how it was decorated in the Arts & Craft style which was popular during Mr. Wright's time.  She also read that F. Scott Fitzgerald stayed there while Zelda was spending time in the nearby sanitarium.  She asked me if I wanted to go stay there with her and of course I said yes.  She was staying with m
y parents for the winter and insisted that her Cadillac be brought down to chauffeur her around.   So I picked her up and I drove the Caddy over the mountain to Asheville.  I am pretty sure as we crossed the peak at Sam's Gap the skies opened, a rainbow and the sun appeared and there was a beautiful AAAAAHHHHHH that came down from the clouds.  Instantly everything was perfect.  I could have been gray and raining and she would have said the weather was perfect.  We pulled up to the hotel.  We had called ahead from home (before cell phones) to let them know we would need a wheelchair.  I swear to God they must have calculated how long it would take us to get there because there stood the bellman with her wheelchair waiting.  They rolled her to the desk so we could check in.  The bellman took our bags up and she instructed the other bellman to take her "TO THE BAR!"  She ordered her Johnnie Walker Red and just took everything in.  We had dinner at the hotel.  I thought it was actually pretty bad, but Grandma couldn't quit talking about how wonderful it was.  I just went with it.  Not gonna ruin a good thing. She loved everything about the hotel.  We went to all the floors and looked at all the pictures.  We frequented the lobby(bar).  She insisted that I go swimming ( I really don't like to swim that much) but once again, just went with it.  The next couple of days we went downtown to the antique shops and Biltmore Village.  She was a delight.  The shopkeepers and restaurateurs loved her.  How wonderful it was that she got to take her granddaughter on a trip like this.  What a sweet little old lady she was.  And she really was.  I don't remember for sure, but I don't think she said Shit once.  When she asked me if I wanted to go again the next year of course I said yes.  And you know what- It was perfect again. I think for Grandma when we went to Asheville for a few short days she was able to remember what it was to be young again and that let her forget some of her troubles.  I am pretty sure that her corner of heaven is decorated in the Arts and Crafts style with a gorgeous lobby with big stone fireplaces and plenty of Johnnie Walker Red.

Here are some pictures of one of our trips.  Grandma was a horrible photographer and her 110 Camera did not help, but I don't care.  I think they are perfect.  Pictures are the backside of the inn, some of the Arts and Craft furniture in our room, Grandma on the GPI veranda with her JWR, and a picture she took of me in the bar.  (Yes I had a perm- no comments please)

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