If you by chance stopped by yesterday, you may have seen the pile on my dining room table, you may have read about how I emptied my crafty cupboard so that I could re-organize it so it wasn’t so frustrating when looking for things. Because I’m queen of procrastination, I didn’t start the project until around 7 last night. Once I began. I couldn’t stop. I was up until 11:30 working on that thing. Then I was way too wired to go directly to bed so I watched an episode and one-quarter of Mad Men. While I was organizing I found a large envelope with greeting cards that my mom gave me. I was curious and began to read who these cards where from? I found a Christmas card from my fraternal grandma. As I read her cursive note I found it sweet. It just said things like, “We all love and miss you” she wished me a nice Christmas and New Years, wondering if I might make my Aunt Lori’s wedding that would be that summer and ended again with “all our love….love you”
She lost the privilege to see me as much as she would have liked when my parents divorced and my mom stayed in L.A. while my natural father went back up north to live. The distance between us was about 210 miles and around three and a half to four hours away depending on traffic. So I didn’t see her very much. This means I only have a handful of memories. I suppose these are the sorts of things that happen when one is a child of divorce.
I know her name is Joy, I know her eyes are very blue, I know her skin is soft, I know she not only has the name Joy but she is also full of joy and laughter, I know she is generous, She smiles a lot, she has a twinkle in those blue eyes of hers, she smells good, I know she loves life, I know she loves me. I don’t know her middle name, I don’t know how old she is, I think her birthday is sometime in December, I don’t know where she was born, I don’t know how she met my grandpa, I sadly just don’t know enough about her.
This picture was at least a decade old or older. I sadly don’t have many pictures with her
Tomorrow we drive to Yuma AZ to attend my grandpa’s memorial. I knew him even less than I know my grandma. You see when I was little he was a very tall and and intimidating man. I was actually sort of afraid of him. They owned a bar and restaurant most of their lives, or at least all of my life. So I often saw my grandpa at the bar sitting in dim lights with a class of hard liquor and almost always a cigar in his mouth, gold rings on his fingers, you get the picture? Grandma would say “Now go give Papa J.E. a hug, he won’t hurt ya” So I would sheepishly walk over to him and hug him like I was supposed to. So from a little girl point of view he was just a tall scary guy while grandma was just the opposite, warm, friendly cuddly and sweet.
I’m going to the memorial because I love my grandma and she loves me. I think it’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to know them better as an adult even. Distance and raising my own family kept me away. However my brother especially was close to Papa J.E. I like to believe he was a man’s’ man, he loved hunting, fishing and out-doors type stuff. My brother experienced all those out-door things with him and this gave him an opportunity to actually know grandpa. He was hit especially hard when he passed because of their well-developed relationship.
That’s Papa J.E. my brother Brandon and Grandma Joy
There was one time a few years back Grandma Joy and Papa J.E. were traveling through my city and stopped for a visit. We sat in our backyard and I got to see a different side of Papa J.E. He smiled a lot, he was kind and he told really great stories while laughing out loud as he spoke. This one small visit in my life changed the way I felt about him. He wasn’t mean after all. But still I didn’t know him. It’s funny how life is, the hands we are all dealt. But still as blood lines go, this is part of mine and because I adore my grandma and I’m also not sure how much longer she will be with us, I will go. I will also ask her, where she was born, how she met Papa, what her middle name is, you know things like that. While I have this opportunity I should take it.
Before I close I just want to leave you with a few memories I have of this dear grandma of mine.
She always called me the morning of my birthday, most times before I even opened my eyes for the day. My mom would carry the phone into me and I would hear her joyous voice, “Well happy birthday Tracie!” She starts most her sentences with “well”
I always love it when she says this one “well Tracie, you have put on a few pounds now haven’t you?”
She made sure that each time I came up for a visit she took me shopping for a new outfit.
She made sure to sit in the trailer with me while Papa was watching over the bar. They would park a big motor home just outside the bar and she would sit with me and play games and talk.
She always seemed to have a poodle with her.
They once lived in a big log cabin and in it was a Jacuzzi tub that I had fun bathing in, they even had a rooster and from what I understand, she collects all things roosters.
She was a great cook and liked things like lamb, olives, green onions, salami and cheese and of course any kind of Mexican food. After all it was an Mexican food restaurant they owned. I tried my first chimichanga there.
She didn’t know how to swim but they always had a pool. One of my best, best memories was the time she invited me for a midnight swim so we could watch the moon. We didn’t wear any clothes and we used a raft to hold on to and float around in the pool. We talked about UFO’s and took in the star filled sky.
She hung out with my great grandma who lived with them. Often when I would visit, it would be me grandma joy and great grandma Dory. Great grandma crocheted and would make me little slippers and scarves. The both of them drove down in grandma’s Mercedes when I graduated high school. I remember staying all night with them in the motel room they rented.
Check out Great Grandma Dory, this is exactly how I remember her, super tiny with lots and lots of wrinkles with a thick, thick accent, sounded Cajun to me.
That’s all for now. I do have more memories but this has already gone on too long. Although I didn’t get to see her much I feel as though somehow I got some of her qualities. We for sure know I got her nice solid legs but also I like to think I hold a bit of her sense of adventure, her constant smile, her joy, her warm love. She is a special lady.