Thursday, July 23, 2009

I haven't forgotten

Someone mentioned my Gramma today. You have to say it that way too, Gramma. There is no n or d in her name. I miss her. I miss her in all the corny ways people miss each other in pretty songs and Meg Ryan movies. Except that there is no happy ending. She died in 2001, I think. I found out in 2006. We had fallen out of touch because she could no longer read my letters and I had children, a marriage, a divorce, a job and a million other things that really, in hindsight, were never as important as picking up the phone would have been. I found out because my letter was returned. Her house had been bulldozed. I would have sold my soul to have bought that rickety little house on the lake.

But I know she forgives me, because Gramma always forgives.

Her house smelled of my late grandfather’s pipe and it was filled with his wooden mallard ducks. The Lincoln logs were his and given to my father who never understood just how magical they were. They were my link to my Grandfather who loved me like sunshine in his pocket. I was too little to get much when he died, I don’t remember it. But I do remember driving back to Mass from Florida when I was 5 and suddenly feeling the weight of his loss. I was so inconsolable and so unable to find five year old words to tell my pissed off mother what was wrong that she pulled over and got out of the car and walked away for a while. I really don’t blame her.

My Gramma used to read readers digest magazine, or rather we would all read it to her. After I was 5 and we left New York for good I only saw her every few years but every time I did it was like we had been together all along. I’d read to her from readers digest and she would bake cookies even though she could barely see. Her kitchen was and is, the seat of my heart. If I ever have a daughter I'd want to name her Pauline for my Gramma.

I don’t even know how she died and I know there is someone I could ask but what if I don’t want to know? I want to think she died peacefully in her bed, surrounded by the millions of photographs she kept and her jewelry that, no matter how plastic and cheesy, I always thought was so glamorous and fine. I don’t know what happens to a person’s soul when you die. My son thinks your soul gets recycled. But I want to believe that somewhere, in new bodies or ethereal space.. My Gramma and Grampa are sitting somewhere in a little lopsided house on the lake, her in the kitchen reading a readers digest and he in that mallard duck nook smoking a pipe. And somewhere nearby is all my three year old happy, saved up in a pocket just for them.


Joey B said...

I was not just a little proud of him when he said that.

I'm lucky to still have my grandmother... my mother's mother. Both of my dad's parents died before I was born.

She'd be proud of you... the way you've raised your boys. The way you carry yourself.

Reducing in HM said...

She'd be proud of me even if I was a bowling leauge drop out. I was her favorite, she was my favorite too.

If I can make my grandchildren feel half as wonderful as she made me feel then I will have totally won at Life.

And thank you Joey, very much.

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