As I look around my computer room, I think of what it tells of me. I have a picture of my wonderful paternal grandmother on the computer desk, and another of her on my wall. Her name was Mae Julian. I think of her often, although she was almost 101 when she died. When she died, I lost one so cherished to my heart, that she is ever near. I still speak to her. It is funny about those who have passed on…at least for me, I don’t think of any gifts or material things that they gave me, but only think of the other gifts. The kind that have no price tag, and are, therefore, priceless. I remember once sitting on her porch swing in Hume, Illinois where she lived. We were casually swinging enjoying the balmy day and I told her that I didn’t like Aunt Day (my aunt, her sister, who was tagged Aunt Day by my father-When he was a young child he was trying to say, “auntie”. The name stuck, and she was forever after known as Aunt Day, which was probably an improvement over Gertrude.)
I held no affection for her, and she was as different from my grandmother as one could be. I heard by family tales, that she was abandoned by a lover of sorts and carried a mean disposition ever since. But you never know about those family tales. What I remember was the reply that my grandmother made when I complained about Aunt Day, “Dear, you must never speak ill of anyone. No one knows what another has suffered.” Well, that was a new one on me! I was probably less than 10 years old and it had never occurred to me that anyone was anything except face value, and I was the judge! My grandmother then told me that my finest physical attributes were my beautiful neck which she described as swan-like, and my lovely hands. I have no idea why I remember that, but I do. Forever after, I was always proud of my neck and hands. Maybe it was her way of pointing out that even though I was no beauty, I had some physical attributes, which she found pleasing. (Funny how you remember stuff like that.) I also remember that my uncle used to taunt me and ask me when I was going to get some meat on my bones. He said it so often that, as a child, I thought I was just a skinny scarecrow, and it wasn’t until I was quite grown that I realized that what he wanted was a very curvy young woman to “admire” (for lack of a more pertinent word.) You wouldn’t think it, but kids know who is the favorite kid in the family. Not because of words, but perhaps of behavior. But I always knew that my older brother, Bill, was my uncle’s favorite (I guess Bill wasn’t too skinny for Unk), and I remember that Aunt Evy’s favorite was my brother, John. My Aunt Cecil, whom I adored, had a penchant for my brother, Jim, and at one time pleaded with my mother to let her adopt him. My mother thought it as a nonsensical idea, as indeed it was, but my Aunt Cecil was so charmed by Jim that she wanted him for her own child. When you look at her two kids I can see that it might be a thought.
I can remember that my cousin, Mary, was pregnant and we were walking back from the schoolyard, and she confided in me that she was thinking of naming her unborn baby either “Douglas” or “Steven”. Now what an odd thing to remember. She did name him Doug and I wonder if he ever knew that his mother could just as well have named him Steve.
I remember digging a hole in the vacant lot beside our house, along with two of my brothers so that criminals would fall in and we could capture them and become heroes. In thinking of all the fantasy that vacant lot brought (including the dreaded garden spiders), I wonder if kids still have the same rich fantasies that we did, or if television has robbed them of their imaginations. I hope not. I am encouraged that that imagination still lives and is well, when I read my granddaughter’s stories. She is only nine years old and she writes fiction all the time. The Waynedale News will be printing some of her stories. I have no idea where they come from, but it assures me that fantasy is alive and well in our young, even though I want to stomp over and shut off Hannah Montana and the other junk that the kids watch.
And, the other thing I have on my mind this morning is that family is the greatest gift that any child could have. I have been Christmas shopping for a couple of weeks, with no great emotion. I see shopping as a chore. But I got a call yesterday that my grandson was very sick. I went over to stay with him while my daughter had to be gone for an hour. As he became worse and worse, I became concerned, although not worried. You know how kids are. By last night he was in the ER and they were deciding as to whether to admit him to Children’s Hospital here in Louisville, due to some alarming lab work. Betsy did bring him home, as she is a neonatal R.N. and he couldn’t get better care if he were in the hospital. I sent some Phenergan over and he slept the night. I am concerned about him because everything from Gall Bladder disease (he has increased Bilirubin) to Leukemia (very high white count) has run through my head. When I called Bets at 10:30 A.M., today, she was barely conscious, she was so tired. She said she would not wake Justin, as he had slept through the night and she wasn’t going to drag him out in the cold to take him to the doctor and to Children’s Hospital quite yet. I agreed with this, as a few hours won’t make a difference and maybe he will be better. It is hard to be a single (or abandoned) mother, and I am glad I never had to go through that.
I am rambling and my editor has probably thrown his hands up by now, so I’ll hang it up for another edition.
Much happiness to all my Waynedale friends,
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