Today is my grandmother's birthday. She passed away several years ago and wasn't herself for years before that, so I can't celebrate with her, but I'm thinking about her.
My grandmother is the one I remember telling me stories. She had a carpet, our "magic" carpet, and we'd take trips, with her describing what we saw as we flew. She wrote me silly rhyming poems on my birthdays and stories about a little girl named Jacqui who had all kinds of amazing adventures. The New Girl...And Me is dedicated to her, but she never saw it or knew, really, that it was going to happen.
My grandmother, like all grandmothers, had a fascinating life. Even as her health deteriorated, we were learning secrets from her past, bits of a story that I will never be able to read in full. I bought my grandmother several journals. I begged her to let me interview her with a video camera, an audio tape, or at least a pen and paper. She was always going to write her own story; she had dreamed, as a child, of being a journalist, and in a different generation, with more resources at her disposal, she'd have been marvelous.
But, she said, she could never get it right. She worried it wouldn't be any good. She worried she couldn't do it. She'd start next year.
You know the end: for all her worrying about getting it right, she never got it written.
I wouldn't have cared if it weren't perfect, of course. I just wish I had the story.
And yes, that's me in the picture. I look like I'm pouting but I may be trying not to crack up. Nice bowl cut, eh? And the wallpaper! Gotta love the 70s. Amazingly, I rock my children to sleep on that rocking chair still.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009