When I was very young, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She didn't work once she got married and had kids. She had breakfast at the same diner every morning after she dropped my grandfather off at work. She ran errands, watched soap operas, and chain smoked her way through too many cigarettes to count. She had coffee at the same spot in the afternoon with friends before she went to pick up my grandfather from work. She could also make a mean ceramic cat, the perfect southern style biscuits, and she was a pretty good polka dancer. She was one of my favorite people in the entire world when I was five.
The summer between kindergarten and first grade, rather than put me in a summer camp or day care program, my mom opted to let me stay with my grandmother during the day. My mom worked for a printing company, and every year at Christmas, my mom would use leftover pieces of Technicolor paper to create notepads in the bindery for family and friends. No two were alike. One day, my grandmother pulled a pink sheet of paper from the notepad and used a ruler and a black marker to draw lines on it. She had me write my name on the first line, then she took over for the rest, asking me to help her write a story to tell my grandfather what we did that day.
I told her, and she copied down my words exactly, of how we had bacon and potatoes at a little place called Munch's. I used grape jelly on my toast. Grandma used strawberry. I remember that because my grandmother always preferred strawberry and I always preferred grape. It still sticks out in my head, her teasing me that one day I would like strawberry too. I do. But never as much as grape. She wrote about us going to the store to pick up new house slippers for her and new socks for him. She wrote about me learning how to play solitaire. She even wrote down my words about how she didn't slice her apples the same way he did, and eating an apple with her just wasn't the same as eating an apple with my grandfather on Friday nights while she and my mom went and played bingo.
It was little more than a list of what we did that day, but after we picked up my grandfather from work and he let me sit in his chair with him while he read my day to me aloud, it was like magic. I wanted to do one new thing everyday so I had something else to put in the story we told. We did that a couple of days a week that whole summer and I went into first grade with much better reading and writing skills than my counterparts.
I've loved writing ever since.
Both of my grandparents are gone now, and I don't have any of those lined sheets of Technicolor paper with our stories on them. I wish I did.
- Current Location:bedroom
- Current Mood: nostalgic
- Current Music:Criminal Minds