So a few posts ago I wrote about the laundromat and how it was always a critical part of the summer visit with Grandma. Another fine establishment where we went, not once, but twice during the week was the bowling alley. If you knew Maddie you know that you would never use the word "athletic" to describe her. I don't think I can recall a single memory of her telling me that she played a sport, unless you consider "submarine watching" at Lakeview Park a sport. She was never in a rush to do anything and the only time I actually saw her walk fast was when she spotted a piece of Heisey at an antique show. But the woman loved to bowl. Bowling was definitely her kind of sport. She got to sit and smoke when it wasn't her turn and only had to stand up when it was her turn. She was actually really good. She was in at least two leagues. On one of the mornings she would run into my other grandfather, Jim Gallagher. I think he may have been in at least two leagues as well. Anyway, when I would visit I would get to and sit and watch Grandma and the other little old ladies bowl. I am not really sure how they convinced me this was fun. I didn't get to play. Sometimes if I was lucky they I would get to keep score. This was way before automatic scoring so it was a good way to brush up on those math skills. But for some reason I liked it. Bowling Alley's really don't smell good, but that mixture of smoke, feet, the oil they use to polish the lanes, the disinfectant that they spray in the shoes all mixed up in that stale air always brings a smile to my face. It was a bittersweet day when smoking got banned inside. Good for my lungs, but the smell will never be the same. Grandma bowled at Rebman's. Right up from the Croatian Club on Oberlin Ave. From what I can remember you went in and there were two sides of lanes. We always went to the right. I don't know what was on the left side, but it seemed very secretive. Maybe there wasn't even bowling on the left, it was probably the bar. Who knows? After her stroke Grandma had to quit bowling. I actually took her up to Rebman's a couple of times during her old league's time to visit her friends. You could tell she was missed and she really enjoyed seeing everyone. She kept saying she was trying to get better to be able to bowl again, but it never happened.
When she died she had already moved into the nursing home and there was no family homestead to host the funeral reception. Many of the funeral homes in Lorain had reception rooms which would have been perfect, but they had all made Grandma mad at one point or another so she made her plans at one in Elyria that didn't. I asked my mom where we were going to host the reception and she said Rebman's. Apparently they had remodeled and now had a "party room". I freaked out. You can't have a funeral at a bowling alley, but then I remembered how much Grandma liked going there and I couldn't think of a better place.