Nickole Brown

Karla Huston's Gram Goldie

Karla HustonCheated out of a sassy grandmother and cheeky mother, too. Neither was ribald or crazy. Neither offered much advice—funny nor otherwise—though my grandmother often said "aught, aught" when she measured rags for rugs, yards counted nose to finger and sorted into piles on the cold basement floor. That's what I remember, the cold, the basement, violets blooming under white lights and windows like half closed eyes. My mother wasn't wild, either, preferring aprons and goulash suppers which could be reheated forever, though when she was young, she wore "Cherries-in-the-Snow and penciled in surprising eyebrows.  Older, she teased and puffed her hair to a helmet, sprayed it hard so that not a wisp moved on her satin pillowcase. My father slept next to that shiny shimmy of a pillow, even after Mom was gone. I “Silver Curled” Gram's fine head every four months, partings flattened and rolled with end papers, shellacked with solution till her kitchen reeked of perfumed ammonia. After, she filled me with the cinnamon rolls she'd baked the day before and complained about my disrespectful mother who dared hang wash on the Lord's day.

Karla Huston