Friday, January 12, 2018

To Grandmother's House We Go

This week on FB, I posted a photo that I have hanging on a wall in my house of a road that once led to my paternal grandparents farm near Long Lane, Missouri. The road is still there. My grandparents are not and their farmhouse has since burned down.

The photo evoked emotions from some who had lived off of and traveled the road. 

Those people shared their memories. One said that the trees in the photo were no longer there. A couple of people wrote about riding the school bus and playing in the creek that the road runs over and picnics. I talked about my own memories and a cabin that my dad had built overlooking the creek when he grew up there.   

For me, the road begins at a highway just before the small town of Long Lane and eventually passes a church with a cemetery where some of my relatives have graves. There were other ways to get to this road that turned onto the road where they lived, but we normally didn't go those routes.

A sign on the chain link fence around the cemetery.
This sign good to know. 
Memories are what we use when we cannot revisit something or someone. 

Memories are unique for each person, personalized by experience. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

When rewriting a story should not be done...

When I was a kid there was a game we played. We called it Gossip, but I think the real name might be the Telephone Game. The first person whispered a sentence or two in another person’s ear. That person whispered what they'd heard in the next ear until the last person repeated out loud what they had heard. At that time the first person would read or repeat the actual message that had been gossiped. Usually, what came out at the end was not the original story.

If nothing else, Gossip made us laugh. 
Sometimes family stories are rewritten on purpose (to save face) and sometimes because people cannot remember them correctly.
My Easter outfit that year. I wore this
to the graduation
For years, I had told a story about staying with my grandmother Minnie one night so that I could attend my aunt’s college graduation with her. At the time, we didn’t have many college graduates in the family. I knew it was a great accomplishment and wanted to go. The plan was that I would stay the night with my grandmother and the next day drive down to School of the Ozarks (now called College of the Ozarks).

That evening, (distant) relatives that I did not know, and had never met, out of the blue stopped by my grandmother’s tiny two bedroom house in town. They asked if they could stay the night. I remember four adults: the older couple, their adult son and daughter and a younger kid (although the kid could be gossip). My grandmother cooked them dinner, fixed up the living room couch as a bed and put bedding on the carpeted floor. She didn’t want them to invite themselves along to the graduation the next day and asked me to not mention our plans.

In her bedroom, Grandma told me they "mooched" off other people. She said that the younger male, probably in his early twenties, hadn't ever worked a job. And by the way, she didn't trust him, and thereby, I would be sleeping with her and give the spare bedroom to the older couple of the family. I was fine with that. She told me to bring my purse in the bedroom, too, because things went missing after their visits. To me they were odd acting people. I did what she asked. She put her poodle Trixie in it's bed between us and shut her bedroom door. The next morning Grandma fixed a monster sized breakfast with no help from anyone but me and did the dishes, then encouraged them on their way.

Trixie in 1983 or 84
Here’s where I sort of rewrote the story. I've told this story many times in depth, how I slept in my grandmother’s bed with Trixie the poodle between us in a little pet bed made by Grandma. One day my daughter said, “How could that have been Trixie?"

Originally, Trixie was my aunt’s dog but did not have her when she graduated college. After she finished her masters degree, she worked her way across the U.S. with a friend of hers for the experience. I believe that is when she left Trixie with Grandma and well Trixie never went back to live with my aunt. My aunt graduated college in 1969 or 1970. Trixie was born after that. As I think back, one of grandma’s cats was probably in the pet bed between us, but who knows? I could be rewriting that, too.

Are family stories ever rewritten in your family? If so why? Bad memory? Embarrassing incident?