I got thinking about my grandmother this week. My mom's mom, she most recently passed away nearly two years ago now. Whereas my dad's mom was more of a matriarch, passing on wisdom down through the generations, my grandmother on my mother's side was more of a friend. She couldn't provide some of the things my other grandparents offered. She couldn't spoil me with toys, or help me through college, or even teach me the secrets of the New York Times crossword. But in some ways she offered me something few others could; she provided decades of memories... the kind you don't easily forget.
Like the time we took the Greyhound Bus. Or how she used to take me to play Bingo. Or the one day when we walked through the drive thru at Burger King. We walked a lot of places. Like to the bank. Or to the ice cream parlor.
Grandma used to live with older people and take care of them for their families. But before that she lived with relatives, and I'd stay with them in the summers. They lived in a house in Southwest Washington, and even though it was in a mid-sized town, they had chickens in the backyard. I remember that house so vividly, even though I haven't been there in at least fifteen years. Next to the living room stood this inventory of Shaklee products that they sold from home. Grandma was always big on Shaklee. We had Shaklee everything, from vitamins to household cleaners. They sold this stuff called Basic H that could clean anything. It didn't matter what. Windows, floors, the dishes, whitewall tires... Basic H could do it. I have no idea what the stuff is, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was a) colored water or b) hydrochloric acid, but we had tons of it.
Shaklee is technically a network marketing operation, but unlike Herbalife and Amway/Quixtar they don't appear to suffer from oversaturation, and they have a history of actual products that people would want to buy... in that respect they are more like Avon or Tupperware. Don't get me wrong... I wouldn't recommend getting involved in any multi-level marketing scheme. But I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for good old Shaklee.
More memories later...