Black Velvet

Black Velvet

By Cece Poister

My maternal grandmother (whom we called Maw) came from Scotland when she was seven years old. One well known characteristic of the Scottish is frugalness. Maw was every bit that. She had eight children, lived on a farm and worked very hard. She made her own bread, canned every vegetable and fruit from the farm and was an excellent cook, mother, and grandmother.

Our family went to visit her at least once a month. A trip from Beaver to Clearfield took about three hours, but I loved going there and loved being with Maw. I should say that the first year of my life was spent there because my dad was off fighting in WWII when I was born. My mother, the second youngest of eight children, lived there until my dad returned home.

On a summer visit when I was about six years old, when it was time to go home, my grandmother asked my parents if I could stay till they returned in two weeks. Permission was granted. I was really surprised, but thrilled. As the oldest of four, at that time, this was a chance to have everything to myself.

I was one of about 30 grandchildren and one of the youngest since my mother was the second youngest of eight. There was always a crowd of grandchildren around since many of my mother’s brothers and sisters lived in Clearfield.

While there on my visit one day, Maw announced that we were going shopping. We went outside the house to catch the bus off the hill to go to town. I can still see her waiting there all dressed up. She wore a small black hat, white gloves and a small hand- held purse. One of her daughters, and my aunt, worked in a department store called Litezingers that had several floors and a large selection of clothing. I was always amazed about the pneumatic tubes that traveled from the cash register up to the ceiling and into the money area.

To my total surprise Maw had come to the store to buy me a dress. (As one of several girls I was the smallest and usually got the hand me downs). She never did that type of extravagant shopping so I was stunned and very happy. After I had tried on several dresses, she selected a pink one with a black velvet ribbon belt. I felt like a true princess, but it was the look on Maw’s face I shall never forget. She looked so pleased to see me that happy. I was very aware, even at that young age, how special this moment was.

When she died and we were clearing out her house, I found she had saved an Easter basket I had made for her out of a Quaker Oats round container. Later I was told by one of my aunts that I was her favorite and that day proved it for me.

Isaiah 54:13

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