Thursday, September 29, 2011

Happy Unbirthday To Me

Today is my half birthday. If Gram was alive, there'd be some sort of acknowledgement. Any reason to celebrate or have fun. Today is also the day Grandma O. died -- 20 years ago. Funny the things you remember. My great-grandma and I were the best of pals. I was 17 when she died - she was in her mid-80s. Almost 7 decades separated us but I often raided her closet for clothes to wear to school. Several of my class pictures were taken wearing one of her outfits! She lived with Gram and Gramps and had the best bedroom in the world. There were so many things for a kid to explore. I especially liked her make-up. I'd often go in and put powder on my face. I loved how her room smelled. Gram and Gramps had a guestroom but when I spent the night, I always slept with Grandma O. in her twin bed, right up through my senior year of high school. She was beautiful and always looked so perfect. I did her hair and her fingernails every week. Saturday mornings, I'd pack up my stuff, go to her house and we'd have salon day. So many memories of casual visits, lots of laughter, shared snacks. We both loved hominy. She'd heat up a can, add a slab of butter, divide it into two bowls and we'd have it all to ourselves. No one else seemed to like it the way we did. When she died, I went to the funeral home and did her hair and nails one last time. At the viewing, I slipped a bracelet on her wrist, under her sleeve. It had half a heart that said, "Best." I have the other half still. It says, "Friend." Nobody knew this next part until I told my mom last summer. Grandma O. is the one who heard all my teenage drama. She had the most time to sit and listen to me. When she was gone, I missed having her to talk to so I'd write my thoughts on paper, fold it up really tight and small, go to the cemetery, dig a small space around her headstone and bury the paper. I was telling Mom that if it weren't for the effects of time disintegrating the paper, I bet we'd find about fifty notes I stuck in around the edges throughout the years.

Grandma O. and Gram
(Lillian and Ruby)

Grandma O.

As I think about my life today, the years I've lived, I realize how blessed I am to have had so many kind, loving, wise people invested in it. Parts of each one can be found in me. of my kids. I love them.

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