The Greats

Since Toby has put me and the baby on house arrest (a whole other blog post I’ll save for another day) until Baby Bug is three months old, my family has been coming to see me. Actually they are coming to see the baby, not me. But you know what I mean. They are making the trek through three hours of mind numbing traffic to visit me and the baby. My family mostly lives out in the sticks, far far away from me and the ocean.

Yesterday, my great Aunt (who is ninety-seven or some ripe old age like that) and my Grandpa (who is five years younger) came to visit. Now that I’m getting older, I realize how special it is to spend time with them. They really are the “Greats”.

My Grandpa is the best. You know what he brought with him to come visit me? His box of tools. He’s an inventor and he’s always fiddling with something. Before his visit, he called and insisted I give him a list of things that needed to be fixed around my house. I had to really think of things because I know he’s getting older and if I gave him my real list, he’d spend all day long doing back-breaking labor. Our place is falling to pieces. But that’s my landlord’s business, not my Grandpa’s.

Just the same, I had to think of something because it really makes him happy to be fixing things. So he fixed the pull wand on my vertical blinds that don’t work and my little portable heater that won’t turn off at the switch. You have to unplug it at the wall and sometimes I’m too lazy to do that so I find it running away in the middle of the night, heating up a room that nobody is in. Cha-ching goes the electric bill.

While my Grandpa fiddled and fixed things, I got to spend several hours chatting with my great Aunt. It is amazing that she is in such great health. She’s a funny character. She kind of reminds me of Katherine Hepburn in her sassy forwardness. She’s very proud of her life of playing golf and wearing slacks and showing off her great legs. She’s constantly on my mom’s case to lose weight. She has no concept that sometimes being overweight is a genetic thing and can’t be fixed by just eating less… but that’s a tangent. What’s funny about my great Aunt is her stories. She always tells the same ones, even though she is quite clear headed and coherent.

The first story she always tells is about me when I was in second grade. I was at a new school and I was having trouble because all the boys would chase me at recess. I was telling my great Aunt this and she got a kick out of it because she then told me that the reason all the boys chased me was because I was “pretty”. Apparently I didn’t belive her, and that was hilarious to her. It’s not that funny of a story really, but it is to me now because she tells me this EVERY SINGLE time I see her.

But I actually remember being seven and I remember that the boys didn’t chase me that much. I was really really shy and would mostly hang around in the fields looking for four leaf clovers. But on that day that I was talking to my Aunt, a boy had chased me (like they do when you are seven) and now it has gone down in history never to be forgotten.

The other story she always tells is about her father. It really is a tragedy. Her dad died when she was seven. He was in his twenties. He was a great artist and he designed jewelry, as well as fixed watches and made lenses for corrective eye wear etc… Apparently he cut himself on something while he was working and got blood poisoning. He died in three days. Can you imagine that?

Can you imagine your healthy father getting sick and dying in THREE days when you are seven years old? It was horrible for my great Aunt. She was very very fond of her father. He was a great man and used to tell her stories and illustrate them for her. I like to think maybe I inherited some of his drawing skills. I really wish we had more record of him.

My Grandpa doesn’t even remember him because he was only two years old when his father died. And on top of that? It was during the depression. Their mother had to clean houses to feed them. She used to get hit on by the men she cleaned for and she would constantly have to find other work because she was getting sexually harassed. They used to eat dandelion greens and whatever potatoes they could find on the train tracks. There is so much history here. I did a report on my Grandpa and the depression when I was in sixth grade. I really need to find that. Anyway… I’m trying to sum it up without rambling too much. My point is, those were tough times. Times that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Maybe this is why I feel so compelled to constantly record history. I can’t just live in the now and appreciate the moment. I do that. But I feel the need to write it down and remember it too. History is so precious. There are so many relatives with stories that have been forgotten.

Just like Baby Bug is being held now by relatives that love her so much, I was held when I was little by relatives that are now long dead. I never knew my Great Grandmother but I know she held me when I was a baby. I know she loved me and she gave me her rocking chair that I still have today. Baby Bug has that rocking chair now. I just want her to remember my Grandpa and my great Aunt. So that is why I am taking these pictures and this movie (696KB quicktime) and putting it on this blog so that someday these memories won’t be lost. Hopefully this blog won’t be lost in the information age… It’s sad how that happens. There are so many leaps in technology that we can’t keep up and so much gets left behind.

My dad took movies of me when I was little, learning how to walk etc. But those movies are lost because they are on super eight film and we can’t find the projector that plays them. We did find it one year and when we used it, it burned a hole in the film. There is even a movie of me when I was two, playing with that rocking chair that my Great Grandmother gave me… One of these days I need to find that old footage and preserve it.