I told this story on my podcast during an interview with May More. Here is the written version:
My grandmother had passed and it was time to clean out her room at the nursing home. We had to go through her things, without holding onto every scrap like it was treasure, without getting emotional. My mom’s mom, Maxine, Grandma Fire Engine (because she lived across the street from a firehouse). My kid’s great grandma.
She was my laid-back grandma. I spent a good portion of my childhood at her house, dragging out the toys, watching cartoons, eating my Grandpa’s grapes and the ding dong cupcakes he liked to take for lunch. I don't ever remember being yelled at for any of it. Only lightly teased. There are a few photos she snapped of her living room after the over-nights with the trash-fire that were visits from my brother and I - the couch had lost it cushions and the picture on the wall above it hung tilted.
Grandmas was tall, not fat, and sturdily built. I don't remember her having hips or trying to pull off something as sophisticated as "lady-like." She smoked heavily, bowled a great game, and canned all the vegetables Grandpa brought in from the garden.
A survivor of the depression, she was a strong woman who rarely complained, except about things that were very distant. Her childhood, being one of them. She told me one of her favorite birthday gifts was a broken lamp and explained to me with how she had set up that lamp and pretended to read from its light. She was so happy to have gotten her very own lamp. She loved that lamp.
Grandma was an excellent storyteller. She also told me about the angry Chief Falling-Rocks who threw rocks at cars from the tops of highest hills. This explained the highway signs, BEWARE OF FALLING ROCKS.
When she passed in 2010, I realized there were five of the same white and turquoise blue polyester suits from the late 70’s early 80’s in her closet, and that she had worn them to every, “nice,” event over the last 25 years that I could remember. My wedding, graduations, birthdays, big family dinners and church. Blue pants, white shirt, blue vest. One had a blue jacket. The white shirt was that wonderful durable polyester that never gets soft and never wears out. A little stretch–no ironing required.
Most of her clothing was that way, out-dated. Well used. It wouldn't be good to donate.
The drawers of her dresser had innumerable socks. So many socks. Several lonely, mateless ones that had likely been missing the other half for years. I sorted through underwear, scarves, pajamas, and a few little stashed boxes of grandma's memories, when I suddenly came across the item of my dreams.
It was the most amazing find.
In perfect mint condition. Never used.
Never worn. Just my size.
I never connected the dots, but grandmother was top heavy, without much of a waist, and had a wide, flat, backside.
Just like me.
Grandma's personal sitting pad was as flat as a cookie sheet. As flabby as a pancake. As straight up and down as the backside of a barn.
I'd spent my younger life thinking I had a nice little butt, but post kids, that little butt melted away to nothing. Not that I had lost any weight or fat. No, the back bulge migrated to the front bulge, complete with dimples and a center crease. You know what I am talking about. I guess this generation calls that a fupa. I call it front-butt.
Everyone laughed when I said my butt was on backwards. But, let me tell you, this is very easy to prove. I got nothing in the trunk and everything in the front!
Apparently, butt migration is a family trait.
My grandmother, my own mother, and now here I was. But Grandma had done something about hers. She had not just settled for flat, flabby and bony. Enterprising woman that she was, she had found underwear to correct the issue.
Padded granny panties.
Literally more cushion for the pushin’.
I held them up like treasure.
Do I dare?
Oh, you bet your booty I dare.
I grabbed those babies as if they were worth millions and put them in my stack of things to take home.
My heart beating with giddy joy, my flat booty swishing side to side with determined hope.
Finally, I hoped, I could wear clothes that filled out the back side and wouldn't catch on the flub of my front side because I would have a juicy-licous booty to hold them up! What a gorgeous legacy Grandma had left me.
Yes! I could shake it like Shakera. I would work it like Jay-Lo.
I could now go forth and change the world with my delightful, artificially, but not surgically, plumped behind! Just like my beer-swiggin'- story tellin'- great- game bowlin' Gramma Fire Engine.
I could just imagine her wearing them under her blue pant-suit. They looked brand new...but maybe she had worn them to my brother's highschool graduation, maybe she had them on at her 50th anniversary celebration?
But would they work? Would anyone see a difference? Would I feel different? Full of swaggar and confidence, just like my hard-working, tough Grandma? Were all my dreams about to come true or be deflated forever. Was this just wishful thinking?
Would I look utterly ridiculous?
I don't have much in the way of a bottom or hips. My curves are a little higher on my body and end at my ribs. Top heavy.
Can anything short of duct taping silicone to my butt save me from my flat sitting pad and long thighs? Did I just find deliverance among my dear grandmother's things?
I took my wonder-ware to Reno, Nevada with me – I’d test drive these babies publicly at my nephew's graduation. Would there be a difference? Would people notice? And yes. I really did this.
I have photo proof.
I wore them more than once.
It isn’t a big difference.
Just a butt boosting, curve of possibility.
And there are times when we can always use a little of that. My grandma, for all her indomitable spirit, survivor of the great depression, part of the work force of WW2, and mother of three, even she needed that.
Plus, wearing them made me feel like I had a secret. And that was endless amounts of fun.