I don't have many memories of my grandparents from my childhood. My cousins could write and write and write about how much they remember her and my grandfather. It's not that I don't remember, it's just that I was very young for the many times I got to see them. I grew up in Washington, DC until I was 15 years old. Grandmother lived in Center, TX and Shreveport, LA. My brother and I were military kids, so usually we spent either the summer visiting our father where ever he was stationed or getting a small trip into seeing our grandparents. All of the other cousins/grandchildren lived in Lousiana, so traveling home was easier for them. I guess.
Most of my memories of Grandmother are from when I was about hip high or college age. There aren't many of them inbetween. The few I have are very foggy and vague. The older kids in the family could tell you about the amazing times we had at the house in Center. For me, it is not about the loss of my grandmother that makes me sad. Its also the idea of the final loss of some of those memories. I remember going to Center at Christmas or Thanksgiving and Grandfather cutting the bird for dinner. I remember playing in the house in the little room that connected to the garage/storage room. I remember playing games with Tim down there. I remember the pachinko game Grandfather had. I know the pictures that have surfaced from our childhoods show how much fun we all had at that house.
Years and years ago, my grandfather passed away. I remember vaguely my mom getting the news and Phil (my stepfather) consoling her. I remember that she went to the funeral and the three men stayed at home. There became a bit of a gap in time for me for memories about my personal visits and then I recalled the trips to Shreveport. I remember the townhouse that Grandmother lived in. I thought it amazing how she would pick us up from the airport and drive us home. How you would walk into the living room first. The tv in the corner on wheels. The fireplace and mantel for a fireplace that would never be used. The assorted books and bric-a-brac around the bookcases. I loved how after going upstairs and putting my stuff in the bedroom, I would sit in a parlour chair that you would just sink into. I loved how there was always a sangria or wine on the island counter in the kitchen. There was the little side room that had the piano. I always wondered about rooms like that in people houses. Was it for decorations? Would she play anytime she felt that urge?
What I loved about my visits to Grandmother's when I was older was the randomness of some of her stories. How she just got back from Puerto Rico or some other island nation. How involved it seemed to me that she was with the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution). Now in retrospect what I am most amazed about is my grandmothers (my Mom and Dad's) is how strong and independent they are. My Dad's dad passed when my Dad was 11. I've only known my Dad's mom to be strongly self sufficient. My Mom's mom seemed to be able to handle any and everything herself after Grandfather passed away. I love that trait in my family. I love that about Southern women. Always having a strength that very little Southern men can attain.
Years ago we had a family get together for Grandmother's bday. I've written about it and I love that visit. I loved how much the family had grown and grown. How all of us were college kids and beyond. How much our parents were enjoying being adults, while we were just learning how to be one. I loved how we all drank and drank and had a good time. Then I remembered how much Grandmother loved us being there as well.
My cousins will write about how amazing she was. Tim and Amy both lived in Shreveport for an extended time and in Grandmother's house. I'm jealous of their attachment to her. That's a bad way to say it. I wish that I had that. I wish I knew this woman who loved a Navy man. Who traveled around the world because of his job. Who no matter what, kept her family rooted. A lady who raised four amazing kids and set them all off into the world full of hope and love. I wish I wasn't so self involved and ran off to a side room to read or watch something stupid on tv and actually sat there and listened. I wish, but what I have I am happy for.