I mentioned before that there were a few things I wanted from my Grandmother’s house to remind me of her and continue the connection we had. I went with Mama today to do some sorting and cleaning and to get some of those things. Oh, we found some grand treasures: things that belonged to my great-grand-dad (did you know that as late as the 50’s driver’s licenses were issued without a picture?), the original receipt for the farm (now I know exactly what “bought the farm means”, and I’ll tell you about it another time), the picture of Uncle Bill, a compact that Granddad sent to Grandmother, even though she didn’t wear makeup, rare pictures of her smiling, and I learned that Granddad frequently transposed Grandmother’s initials.
We had to go through a lot of stuff, and we have scads more to go. No stack of papers can be thrown away unsearched, because we’ve found pictures and such tucked in among stuff that is “worthless’ to us. Today, for instance, I opened a small box that my Uncle brought down from the attic last week. It was on a box of “bank china” that my Grandparents got for me eons ago. On the outside I read “handle with care”, and then I untied the well-tied string and opened the box. There was a note that just said “Bowls Tommy gave to me. Love, Grandmother” on the back of a calendar page. Yes, my Grandmother was ever a frugal woman, and long before budgeting software became the norm. There was no indication on the paper who the bowls were meant to go to, and signing the note “Grandmother” only limited the possible pool of candidates by 3, since every other member of an incredibly large family refers to her by that name. So, employing my usual wit and sarcasm, I said “Hmm, thanks Grandmother.” A lady was there talking to Mama, and she asked if there was a name on the box, and I said no, and closed the box. As I was closing it, I noticed the name that had been hidden under the string, “Denise”. That’s me. And I opened the box again to see what it was exactly that she had wanted to give me, and I saw that note again, and it was as though I was seeing it for the first time, this note my Grandmother wrote to ME so long ago, knowing I would probably not see it until she died and she signed it “Love, Grandmother”, and I kinda sobbed right there, and the tears are pouring down my face right now, even as I type. Because she is dead now about 6 weeks, and yet “Love, Grandmother” rings across eternity to me.