Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.
My “Secret Subject” is:
You have 24 hours to spend with an ancestor. What do you talk about?
It was submitted by: It was submitted by: http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/
I’ve been thinking about my Great-Grandmother quite a bit lately. She passed away over 20 years ago. I know her in the way a child knows a grandparent. I wish I had known her as an adult. I remember sitting on her front porch, shelling pecans or snapping beans, listening to her talk, telling stories. I’d love another chance to do that again, even just for 24 hours.
I don’t know much about my ancestry, but even if I did, I can’t imagine wanting to spend time with anyone else. Grandma Dowell left a huge impression on my young mind and heart. Every morning, I’d wake up on our visits to find her reading her bible. I can thank her for my love of bacon, the kind fried up in a skillet, steeped in grease and love. Yum! I can only really remember her being on the porch or in the kitchen. She was always working, never stopping, those bent and gnarled arthritic hands constantly in action. I loved going through her purses, she also kept gum or mints stashed in them. She had a little apartment attached to her house, my sister and I would spend hours playing in there. I sat, entranced, in front of her television, watching MTV. You know, back when MTV played music videos. Videos like Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” or “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. Oh! Another good one, “Hungry Like The Wolf” by Duran Duran. I know I’m totally dating myself. Remember “Sledgehammer” by Peter Gabriel? “When The Doves Cry” by Prince makes me all nostalgic. I would slip into a music video coma when “Take On Me” by a-ha would come on. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention “Like A Prayer” by Madonna or “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, which was also my first album by the way. Ah, the memories. Good times.
She loved me. I don’t remember her being overly affectionate, verbally or otherwise, but I never doubted that she loved me. She cooked all my favorite foods. She spent time with me. She listened to me. She spoke to me as if I were an equal, as if my thoughts and feelings mattered, making me feel grown up and treasured. She had such patience for my litany of questions, cautioning me once that “curiosity killed the cat.” I’d laugh and say but “satisfaction brought it back.” I miss her. I’ve been thinking about her so much lately, even before I got this prompt. I’m not sure why.
I wish my kids could have known her. I wonder what she would think of me now. All grown up. Would she be proud? She kept a box of letters and pictures. She told me she was keeping them for me because she knew I would be a writer someday, and I’d want them. I don’t know what happened to that box. I wish I had it. She believed in me before I even understand what to believe about myself. I feel like I’ve let her down. I let life get in the way. I let my doubts and insecurities hold me back. Would she lecture me? Admonish me? What words of wisdom would she have for me? There is so much I want to tell her. I need her advice, her wise counsel. She’d probably tell me to get over myself. She wasn’t shy about giving her opinions. I loved that about her.
I remember her house dresses. Someone should bring those back. I’m a big fan of pajamas that are socially acceptable in public. I also remember the first time she took her teeth out in front of me. That was horrifying. I didn’t know anything about dentures! I wasn’t allowed to put my elbows on the table, but she could place her teeth on it! That didn’t seem fair. She just laughed and laughed. Her toothless smile wide as she patted me on the head.
I remember sitting crouched in the hallway during a tornado warning. It was so scary, a tornado literally touched down behind and in front of her house, just missing us. At least that’s how I remember it. During the whole ordeal, grandma was in the kitchen making popcorn. The old-fashioned way, on the stove-top, completely unaffected by the chaos upending everything outside her four walls. I remember waking up to finding a huge snake in her kitchen. I don’t remember how she got the snake out or what happened to the snake, but I remember how calm she was in the midst of my hysteria and panic. That’s the best way to describe her, she was a rock, a stable force in my childhood.
I would ask her to cram all of our shared memories into 24 hours so I could record them and keep them forever. I’d want to hear more about her life and her marriage. She was born around 1894, when I think about all the things she witnessed, the history she lived, things I’ve only read about, I’m filled with wonder and curiosity for what life must have really been like for her. For my birthday every year, she’d send me $1 and a pair of pantyhose. $1 was a lot of money to her and pantyhose a luxury item. Things I didn’t appreciate as a child growing up in a generation of X’ers, the world of plenty. Going to visit her was like going back in time, a slower pace, more thoughtful and deliberate. Peaceful and serene. I’m probably waxing poetic about my time spent there in a way that memory allows, I don’t know how reliable are my thoughts and memories, but it makes me feel good, this version I tell myself. It feels magical and special, a time in my childhood to be cherished.
I’d spend our 24 hours on her front porch, soaking her up like a sponge. My adult self recognizing how special she was and how luck I was to know her at all, if only a little bit. She makes up such a small part of my overall history and life to this point, but she made such a huge impact. I’d tell her all these things. I’d make her fix me bacon again. I’d share my time with her with my husband and children. I’d love nothing more than to give them a chance to know her, and vice versa.
Everyone should have a Grandma Dowell in their life. I’m blessed and grateful she was a part of mine. ❤
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
Baking In A Tornado http://www.BakingInATornado.com
Dinosaur Superhero Mommy http://dinoheromommy.com/
Spatulas on Parade http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html
The Lieber Family Blog http://thelieberfamily.com
Sparkly Poetic Weirdo http://sparklyjenn.blogspot.com/
Simply Shannon http://shannonbutler.org
The Bergham Chronicles http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com
Confessions of a part time working mom http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/
Not That Sarah Michelle http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com
Southern Belle Charm http://www.southernbellecharm.com
The Angrivated Mom http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com
When I Grow Up http://kimberlyyavorski.com/whenigrowup/