Resuming the Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoir Writing Challenge. This is Day Twenty-Seven.
Where to even start. My very first memoir piece was about my grandma. My memories of her are deep and vast, and she is associated in my subconscious with safety, love and softness. She was flawed and imperfect in a million ways, but she was also a place I always knew I was safe, and she is woven through the years of my life in strong and visible threads. There are reminders of her everywhere in my home and in my heart. Abigail is named for her, and I took her surname when I got divorced. I was wrapping myself in that security, even thought she (and my grandpa) were long gone.
I didn’t know my grandpa as well, but what I did know of him was legendary. He was not a small man, either in stature or personality. He, too, was deeply flawed and imperfect, and they divorced before I was born. But they never stopped loving each other, that was clear to anyone who knew them. Grandma would always twinkle, even as she would call him a sonofabitch. Jack would refer to her with a tenderness he reserved for few others, always calling her by her full name.
I have two more sets of grandparents, but neither informed my life to the extent of Kathryn and Jack. My biological paternal grandparents were unknown to me until I was an older child, and I got to know them a little bit in their later years before they died. They were deeply kind and good people, and regret I didn’t get to know them better. Their home was full of artwork and photos of me my mother had sent them over the years. It’s kind of surreal to realize there are people who love you, who have loved you, for years before you knew of them.
My other paternal grandparents were more distant- not for any reason besides the fact they traveled extensively and were almost always on the road to somewhere. My memories of Virginia are of holding her hands, riddled with arthritic bumps, but remembering how soft they were. She died when I was young, and my grandpa rapidly remarried- several times. I don’t remember all their names, but I do remember when his big fifth-wheel would be stopped at our house, on his way to somewhere new, or returning from another adventure.