If you follow my blog (and I certainly hope you do!), you’ll recall that last week I mentioned cleaning out my attic as my first big COVID-19 project.
Well, it’s turning into a HUGE and NEVERENDING project. Sigh.
Nevertheless, it’s been fun waxing nostalgic at the long-forgotten stuff Spouse has been hauling down daily. Some mementoes from the past are sweetly sentimental; some absurdly embarrassing. Most make me LOL; a few make my eyes leak.
But this project got me thinking: what makes us keep some things and not others? Were paper dolls and gum rappers (sic) really that important to me at one time?
Hard to believe now, after a half-century of water has passed under the bridge, but at the time I painstakingly pasted them in my scrap book as a child, they were the highlights of my little world.
But maturity, acquisitions, losses and, well, just living life, tend to change our perspective of what’s truly important. Of which memories we want continue to trigger for the entirety of our lifetimes; the beloved people whose wise sayings, goofy mannerisms and casual, love-filled gazes we take for granted at the moments they occur; the fun adventures with besties; even the familiar, mundane places and habits that we thought at the time would go on forever. But didn’t.
Here’s an excerpt from a diary entry I wrote in 1974 on a Thanksgiving visit with my family to my Granny Rogers’ house in north Georgia (Mama’s mama). I was 17 and in the 11th grade.
“I just ate a piece of Granny’s fantastic chocolate cake on top of a big dinner at Sook and Mae Mae’s today [my great aunts, both “unclaimed blessings” who lived in a big house on a hill in the country]. There goes my diet. Too bad.
To think that all the old folks that are such a part of my life will not be here much longer – Mae Mae , who’s 80 and doesn’t appear to be a day over 65; Sook, the family edicate [my primitive spelling of etiquette] fanatic while at the same time being as country as everybody else in this red clay-bred family.
And EE too [another quirky great aunt], whose rugged but lovable humor leaves me wordless and a bit shaky because of her gruffness. [EE had both the countenance and bark of a bulldog – she was quite a character; I included several hysterical stories about her in my book Mom NEEDS Chocolate.]
I will really miss all of them when they’re gone – especially Granny, so wise and understanding of us kids, even when our own parents don’t seem to get us. She just sits back and observes us – she never interferes unless asked, and then she only says what she feels to be true, no more, no less.
I just LOVE that old lady! In her own quiet way, she has received more of my respect and admiration than anyone else I’ve ever known.
It pains me to realize that she’s 72 years old and will be gone before too many more years. I only wish my children would have the privilege of knowing her.”
*Deb’s note: Let me interject here that Granny lived to the ripe ol’ age of 92 and in keeping with her legacy, taught my 5-month-old daughter how to do incredibly loud and embarassing raspberries (spit with your tongue out). Granny was so proud. Now back to my diary …
“I just thank God that I have them now – to listen to, learn from, and appreciate for their unique individual qualities. They’re MY folks. And I love ’em all.
I really like it up here – it’s pretty chilly outside all day (40s) and Granny keeps her electric logs going in the fireplace. Daddy, Cindy, and I come in from our walks and stretch out in front of the fireplace.
It’s so neat, the feeling of closeness in just being together as a family unit. We find plenty to talk about and joke about. I hope I always remember these special times. “
Reading this makes me consider: how will we remember this strange time in our lives? The COVID-19 lockdown of 2020?
Will it be with fear and trembling? With anger? With regret for lost time?
Or could our memories (and our children’s) possibly be something like, “it’s so neat, the feeling of closeness in just being together as a family unit”?
The choice is ours.
Julie Blackmore says
As I read your childhood Thanksgiving memories, I am reflecting on my own childhood memories. My Dad waking up at 5am, I can still smell thyme and all the many aromas of spice lingering in the air. My Grandmother would come by around 12pm. She (My Dad’s Mom) and my Mom would drink their White Zin as they would look at each other and laugh. My Mom and my Grandmother were each other’s best friend. Unfortunately, my beloved Nana passed away 7 years ago, I can still see her laugh, and when she laughed her whole would move with laughter.
Debra, definitely a blessing that your beautiful daughter had met your wonderful Grandmother….my heart is full of so much love for you. Thank you for sharing.
I love this post, Deborah. And so much, that I shared it on our PCCOG Community group on Facebook (as well as my own page). There is so much good that will eventually come out of this. Hoping the Lord brings revival, too!