disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grandma's Story

I wrote in a recent post, http://disorderlywanderlustblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/flowers-for-florence.html about one of my grandmothers. I gave her a list of genealogy questions about her life about a year ago, because I realized I knew nothing about her.

Sure, when I was young she lived an hour away during winter and I'd go spend the night sometimes, and I remember eating pomegranate jam, squishing unripe olives and kumquats to watch them burst, hiding in her avocado grove, scaling her chain link fence like a ninja, and hating her loud clock that tick-tocked all the time and often served as the only sound in the house.

Every summer we'd drive out of state to her summer home, a log cabin my grandpa built, on a few acres along a bend in the river with a gorgeous view.

Grandma and her brother in their teens, circa
about 1940
However, I don't remember much about my grandma, so I decided to ask her some questions while she is still of this earth. I mean, I can't fathom knowing so little of my grandma. I know she loves  and I mean loves yard sales, burritos, and donuts. She hates to cook and outright won't do it. She was adopted and went to college and worked as a real estate broker. She grew up during the depression. She likes country music, dogs, and inexpensive wine. She was married twice and I know her birthdate and names of family members. And that is it.

I can't tell you her personality, likes, dislikes, passions, interests, or drive. I can't tell you her fondest memory or greatest fear or anything regarding her past. It's like she is this acquaintance I barely even know, but she is my own flesh and blood. It is almost as if she is two-dimensional and lacks a personality or history, but I know this to be untrue.

She must have a secret side, as no one seemed to know her. She kept shrugging off answering my questions even when I told her she could ignore any painful or weird question.

Finally, over a year later, my mom and grandma were stuck on a plane to Costa Rica with nothing to do for hours, so on the plane, there, and back they began to unfurl my grandma's life. My mom said she has had a fascinating life, and that they laughed and cried reminiscing. My mom learned so much about her mom and realized her mom was a familiar stranger to her, and this opened a book of life that she is glad to have discovered.

I can't wait to read the answers. My mom insists on typing it, but she is not computer savvy so it will be printed to me, mailed, and probably lost in the shuffle of my paperwork. I wanted to take some photos of my mom's mad scribbles for antiquity, and perhaps transcribe them, but she informed me they are in her "own invented shorthand" so only she can read it. She says she will try and get it typed within the next month......argh! I want it now!

Why am I so impatient and eager? Well, what I think would be cool is to write a book. Okay this is 1 of 3 books rolling around in my mind, never seeming to be written. But I think it would be neat to use what I find out as a jumping off point to write a historical fiction/non fiction book about some of my relatives lives. I'm  a sucker for family sagas and movies like Forrest Gump, and everyone's life has a great story to tell. To use a favorite quote, "the mundane is beautiful" and I want to capture that. I can't get much from my other grandma who guards every bit of her life, or my dad who adds some hyperbole to his tales. My mom doesn't recall her childhood, and my grandpas are well past gone. This is my one person, my one chance.

I just hope I can somehow capture her voice. I mean, I know what she sounds like, what her voice itself is, but I want to capture her voice in the literary way, her diction and colloquialisms and somehow encapsulate all of her into each and every word so that it is more her writing about her life than myself.

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