Now, we have the loveliest people next door, we really do, but they have… well… lawn ornaments. No flamingos, but a stone friar (possibly St. Francis?), burros (with roses coming out of their backs), stone cacti (to go with the real ones?), possibly a deer, and Other Assorteds. Their backyard looks like a still from a Disney old-school animation – squirrels, chipmunks, blue birds, dwarves, the works, all rendered in colorfully “lifelike” resin. THEY ARE A LITTLE DISTURBING.
Thus, when we found this guy, we were understandably shaken. Tech Boy keeps suggesting the two of us go next door. One of us will distract the folks, while the other will go ’round the back and return their wayward friend… we’re pretty sure he’s an escapee.
I am reassured by my librarian friends that librarians love patrons. They should all be quite fond of me because of the fifty holds placed in my name in the SNAP system — our library extends to several cities and two counties, as the SNAP stands for Solano, Napa, and Partners. My local branch is probably wondering what I’m up to… and I shall be happy to explain, should we ever speak to each other. Librarians and I don’t actually do more than wave in passing, thanks to the glorious self-check kiosks. We have some of the nicest librarians, ever, but I already feel a little guilty about asking them to bring me books from all over. ☺
I used to love to play with my grandmother’s things. She was a woman who grew up desperately poor, but who was fortunate in her children, and saved wisely and well. Eventually she managed to have enough shoes that we gently teased her about being the Imelda Marcos of Patterson, Louisiana, and each one of her twelve children knew her weakness for rings and earrings and flashy bits of rock of all kind. She loved her jewelry, and so did I; I loved spending time just running my fingers through her pearls and trying on all of her rings (they swung wildly around my small fingers) and wearing all of her beads at once.
You may recall that my grandmother died in February. I was doubly saddened because, after her first stroke, the crackheads, whom I no longer give names nor consider relatives, swindled her out of her home and stripped it of a lifetime’s worth of gifts and possessions. This ugly truth worked like grinding shards of salted glass into a wound, and the grief was mixed with being very angry that I had nothing to hold which had been hers.
Please understand – being one of
thirty-some fifty-four grandchildren of a working poor woman who’d had twelve children, I’m not talking like I was expecting the diamond tennis bracelet she got on her sixteenth birthday or anything. Let’s be serious. I wanted just something small… maybe a handkerchief, her favorite coffee mug, a jar of her cold cream (she still used all the old-old brands – Pond’s Cold Cream, original Listerine, and original Noxzema). Just something to remember her by.
My dear friend Bean has given me two things to hold. First, an idea — she has a bunch of vintage 40’s pinafore apron patterns. My grandmother had tons of the things, and non-sewing, all-thumbs-with-a-needle me is challenging herself to make a very simple bunch of pinnies in bright colors. That’s a memory from her era to mine.
The second thing that Bean gave me is tangible. These obviously aren’t Madear’s buttons, but they’re vintage, from her era, and they’re like ones she had. There are glass ones, mother-of-pearl ones, carved bone and stone ones, and knotted leather. There are big, shiny Lucite ones, and small, thin painted slivers of wood, and each of them is unique and lovely. I find it weirdly soothing to just run my fingers through them, to divide them up by color, to imagine things to do with them…
What would you do with these little tangible bits of the past, to build a memory to hold? I’d welcome your ideas to add to my own…