Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is why I write, this is why I blog, this is who I am

Because not everyone hears every story. Because not everyone cares about the stories we do tell. Because sometimes we need to be heard in the void. Because everyone remembers something different.

I remember my grandfather as a hard man. I don't know enough about his life before I can remember being young, because he never talked about it. He didn't share his own stories, even the hard ones.

All we knew was we had to be quiet. We couldn't play "Hungry-Hungry-Hippos" because it was too much noise. I'm pretty sure his main reason for building us a playset in the backyard was so that we could make noise - outside. The reason I remember being told was because he practically grew up an only child, he was used to quiet.

That excuse makes no sense to me now. I don't suppose it did then either.

My grandmother thrived, and still does to a point, on commotion & chaos. Having half a dozen kids sleeping over, playing dress up, making plays, playing games and generally squirreling underfoot was her element. For her, coordinating and planning and talking to lots of people is a great day. She seems to bloom like her roses that hold steadfast in hard caliche and whipping wind only to glow strong and fresh in the many vases placed everywhere you turn.

My grandfather though, could get lost for hours in books. I know he did all these pretty great things like starting swim teams when my dad & uncles were boys. I know he ran a respected business, helped develop this city in many ways, worked on so many projects. I know he helped make laws and brought computers to their business and helped build Prairie Pete Park when it had cool things to climb on. I know he was in the Army Air Corp and ended up at Midland Army Air Field. I know he was raised in Chicago. I know he made a good Colonel in the CAF because he's just ornery enough to fit the criteria.

But I mostly remember him always having a book. Sitting in his chair reading, barking at us to quit tearing through the house. Sitting, quietly, trying to stay lost in his world.

There are things I learned about him eventually. Bits of snippets of his memories as a kid or family growing up or what else he'd done. Either I got old enough to finally hear them or he finally decided to tell them.

He was a hard man. But he got things done. More than one person referred to him as an ogre, whether the referral was affectionate or not depended on who you talked to. He somehow made things happen, and I imagine he growled quite a lot at quite a number of people to make these things happen.

My grandparents were married 65 years. As much as we could see them push each others buttons, he loved my grandmother. It was rare, but to catch him looking at her with affection when he thought no one was watching, that is when he bloomed like his rose bushes. He was all thorns and thick rough stalks and dry edged leaves to suddenly surprise you with a soft pink rosebud hidden and blooming.

I don't know how they met. I don't know if he went to school for a degree. I don't know if he had dreams he wanted to pursue.

I do know he read. A lot. I know he was an alcoholic. I know he liked growing the roses and tomatoes in the garden. I know he did things his way. I know he liked his choices in music.

I know I'm a lot like him in some ways, traits passed on that make each of us who we are.

I know I have stories that people will never hear. I know I have stories of things in my life that may never get passed along. Partly because I prefer to look forward and learn what I can from the past, but keep going.

But I write them. I write some for myself, tucked into long and rambling notebooks now covered in dust on the shelf. I write to be read, posting into the internet things that happen as a way of remembering and sharing, sometimes to be commented on by strangers or fiends. I write down my memories of my stories, so that someday later when I flip back through them I can remember what that scent was or where that storm was or who I was with when that happened.

We share these bits of our lives in a public space. We make the effort to put ourselves out there, to share what we see happening with the world.

Because I want these stories of mine to be known, even if the only people who read it are friends I haven't met yet. So that somewhere out here in this world is my version of what I did and saw. So that someday when people wonder about the eccentric woman who paints and gets lost in her own world, they'll know there's more to me than just that. I have more stories than just what I've done.


Dixxe's Doodles said...

Nice words...we are each a string, a piece thread, woven into the fabric of life. Some pinks, some blues, some blacks, and orange and firey reds all blended into a mosaic that looks even better when viewed from afar.

Melissa said...

a link we share. praying for you and the family. sending my love.

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