November 20, 2013

The Top of Grandma's Dresser

Some time before my Grandma Hallmann passed away in 1998, she told me she was wanting to get rid of some of her things and asked me if there was anything I might want to have. Without hesitating, I shamelessly blurted out "Everything on your dresser!" I told her how whenever we'd come over to visit, that was the first place I'd run to see what new things had been collected there.

Grandma laughed out loud and was so surprised by this! (I was surprised that she laughed out loud because, though she was always a very loving grandma, she was also generally a serious grandma!) Nonetheless, after that conversation, I couldn't stop thinking about our talk and the things I remembered on her the point that I wrote a little verse* about it. Then, a few weeks later, I was presented with this:

It's a piano bench that Grandpa Hallmann had made. He had died in 1993 and, as sentimental a gift as this was, I couldn't help thinking of the talk Grandma and I had and wondered why she chose to give me this. I suddenly realized how terribly rude I had been to ask for my Grandma's personal things. I was truly grateful she thought to give me Grandpa's bench...I hugged and thanked her for it. 
Then Grandma said "open it..." (the bench opens?!)

There, inside, was everything from the top of her dresser; hankies, gum, necklaces, rings...she even included personal notes and cards she'd received from friends, just as I remembered seeing when I was a girl. Here were all her things, inside Grandpa's bench! The one difference now was that the school pictures from her dresser were not of me or my cousins, but of my own children - her great-grandchildren!
I was overwhelmed with love and memories of Grandma and her dresser. To this day, when I open that piano bench, the smell of the soaps that she included in it are as fragrant as ever and I'm just a little girl at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

*The Top of Grandma's Dresser
The top of grandma's dresser was wonderful to me.
There were so many things on top of it - I couldn't wait to see.
Each time we'd come to visit, I'd have to rush right over
To her bedroom to examine it - but I'd do it under cover. 

I knew I shouldn't be looking at my grandma's private things
So until the talking started, I'd have to wait to see her rings.

The top of grandma's dresser was first seen from mother's arms...
Then later, on my tiptoes, I'd behold the dresser's charms.
Sometimes my mom would catch me - she'd scold, "now don't you touch!"
But with all the candy, scents and jewels, this was asking way too much!

One day it finally happened, as I reached up for a look,
I knocked some things off - with a crash...was hauled off like a crook.

The top of grandma's dresser was like a treasure chest;
There were earrings, chains and bracelets...let me tell you all the rest:
There was Beeman's gum, some smelly rub, and pictures of me and my cousins...
And pretty soaps and lotions, and pennies by the dozens!

There was a hairbrush, comb and mirror, some cough drops - just like candy - 
(forget the honey lemon - the cherry's really dandy.)
Sometimes there would be hankies... or cards for different reasons, 
The top of grandma's dresser seemed to change right with the seasons!

The top of grandma's dresser was beautiful to see,
And because it was off-limits made it more mysterious to me.


  1. Love this Barb! I never had an experience like this, but now I feel like I did. Thanks for taking us along on such a wonderful memory.

    1. My Dearest Robin, we're just a couple sentimental fools aren't we? One day, before its all over, I hope you might just get such a surprise! <3