Sunday, April 02, 2006

Grandma's Journals

I think my desire to preserve memories was instilled in me & inspired by my grandma....

As a kid, I would help her recall everyone who attended a family gathering as she wrote it down in a notebook. She kept lists of attendance for EACH family event (birthday party, Christmas party, Thanksgiving, wedding, funeral). I never really understood why. I suppose I thought she was "required" to do this, but that wasn't it.

My grandma also wrote details on the back of each picture she developed. The names of the people photographed, their relationship, the date, and the event (if applicable). I enjoyed helping her add the newly documented photos in her photo know the kind....they had the static cling pages, with the stripes of glue that literally ate it's way through the photo paper (in about 2 seconds)!!

It was always so much fun looking thru my grandma's photo albums. She would copy the details written on the back of the photo to hand-written scraps of paper. Then she would attach those strips of paper beneath the photos in the albums. It now occurs to me that this was HER version of scrapbooking. (Wow! I bet she would be so proud of my scrap work!) I spent hours reading through the photo albums. (She stored them inside the cabinet the TV stood on.)

It's funny how I can actually SEE the TV stand now, and the TV with it's WIRED remote! (Don't see those anymore.) But it was a breakthrough in technology compared to the old turn knobs back then. My uncle, my grandma's 3rd son, owned a Radio Shack store called MicroCity. My grandparents bought all of their electronics from him, including my grandpa's Atari, the GIANT video camcorder, their microwave, and this TV with the wired remote.

Anyway, back to my grandma.....

After my grandma died, my grandpa showed me some journals that she kept. I never knew about these journals when she was alive, perhaps that's how she preferred it. So, I don't know where she kept them, becuz I always snooped through everything! It used to annoy the crap out of her! So, then I would ask if I could look at the stuff she kept in her dresser....from her old miniature camera, to her costume jewelry (which she never wore), to her backgammon game, ivory dominoes, Rook card game, the heirlooms I was going to get "when I was old enough", and the perfume she never wore. There were so many intriguing items in those old chest of drawers. I can almost smell the drawers made of pine now....nothing compares to the carpentry of those old wooden drawers. Real wood, not pressed wood. Heavy wood, sturdy wood, old wood.

I wish I had a copy of her journals now, becuz I can't recall what she wrote in them. What were the little things about my grandma that perhaps no one knew? What made her cry? What made her laugh? What did she do before her diabetes & obesity took over her life? Did she have an active lifestyle? She must have, with 6 kids to raise. I remember the old farmhouse, where my mom was raised. They moved there when my mom was 2 years old. What brought them back? Why did they leave California? So many questions that will probably always go unanswered.

So, what did I learn from my grandma's journals???? I learned the importance of recording my life's events. From the normal, tedious, every day things like working at the Bank, cleaning my the important things that I never want to forget, like my wedding day, the day my kids were born, Lica's first steps, Little Man's first surgery, the hemorrhage that almost ended Daniela's life before I ever held her in my arms....the craziness of life, like being a taxi to Lica, a complaint taker for Little Man, a playmate for Daniela.....this is my life & it will be important to someone someday....maybe my grandkids will enjoy reading about me.


Becky said...

I wish my grandma and/or mom kept better records! I have a ton of pic that I don't even know if it's family or not! Kinda frustrating.