I think now, as an adult, I realize why I secretly loved going to my grandmother’s house every summer: the stories.
For a couple of summer’s as a kid, I would spend a few weeks at my Grammy’s and she would plan all sorts of things for us to do: thrift store hunting, cake and bread baking, porch swinging, weather watching and most importantly, writing. Grammy had always been a writer and would often tell me stories or poems that she’d written. I remember we went to a gathering and the people there asked her to bring stories to read. She had a wonderful way with words, and often wrote her stories using Northern Maine lingo and dialect, making them unique and interesting to read and interpret.
As a kid, I couldn’t fully appreciate her work. After all, I was still ‘addicted’ to my Nintendo DS, as she liked to say, and spent time playing Mahjong on my computer. Not to say that she wrote inappropriate stuff, but I wouldn’t understand, or appreciate, what it’s like to be trapped in your house during a snowstorm with your husband and mother. Though, now as an adult, I can read her works and value them for more than just a bedtime story.
She’s definitely written stories about me, and published them. Even the embarrassing ones about me using her giant bathtub, which turned out to have two sequential parts (I guess the first one was just that funny to my mother and Grammy). My favorite story she wrote about the two of us was called Ten Minutes in Canada, when we went to Northern Maine to visit her sister and got lost at the USA/Canada border. A bunch of other disasters happened,like a tornado, but overall it was a great trip. It was so amazing to go back and read how she interpreted the series of events after the fact. But I was too late to want to know more.
Grammy passed away last year. She never knew I was writing a story of my own. Multiple stories. I never told her. I didn’t want her to feel bad that she wouldn’t live long enough to see my book get published the following year. However, I wish I had told her that she was the reason I loved writing stories. Seeing her be so passionate about writing made me passionate.
After she passed, I remember reading some of her stories to my boyfriend at the time–most of them for the first time. It’s amazing that I can still have this piece of her after her death, but it’s unfortunate I couldn’t have more open dialogues with her about her stories.
I miss the part of me that made me a writer.