Mom and I are working on her side of our family tree. She has a bag which contains folders and photos that she found after my Grandpa died, while she was going through his things. Some of the items in the folder, she hand’t really gone through until today. Weathered, frayed, folded scraps of paper with squiggled writing in the penmanship of my grandparents
There were love letters and poetry written to my Grandma, by my Grandpa. Poems for birthdays, poems about the anticipation of trips together, poems about loving each other eternally. Grandpa was a poet. He wrote a hilarious poem to Timex (the makers of the wrist watch he wore) and kept the writer’s of the Timex commercial’s humorous response to his letter. It was quite amusing.
We found short sweet and silly poems my Grandma wrote to my Grandpa. Mom was an artist. When we were young, she painted a happy clown which hung in the room Bruce and I shared as kids. We found a poem my grandma wrote about that painting. The last line stated, “When I look into the eyes of that clown, I see Reggie” (my mom’s name). We found a poem about Bruce, at age 9, who was too old for kisses from grandma, but loved kisses from his dog. Obviously, Grandma was hurt that he no longer felt the need to kiss her hello and goodbye. She also wrote a poem on Christmas eve about Rudolph’s red nose, in which she said “…it wasn’t Rudolph, but Reg jumping into her bed!”
These scraps of paper made me realize that I come from a family where love was our role model. My grandparents, on both sides of my family, were happy and in love throughout their lives. My parents were happy and in love their whole life. With dysfunctional families, being the norm in our society, it’s comforting to know that my family’s history was loving.
There was a notebook. Inside were notes my Grandpa wrote about his life and his earliest memories. Handwritten memories, from the last generation of people who actually wrote down their memories. An art that has faded as much as the paper it was written on. The computer generation has taken place of writing paper and penmanship. Tucked away in drawers, these brown, tattered, folded scraps of paper were saved with love, only to be found, read with a tear and cherished by us.
Scraps of paper. Weathered, fading, frayed edges, folded and torn.
I think about how my Grandpa’s memories of his life, are now reduced to a collection of papers. We look at his penmanship, his thoughts organized and written down so they wouldn’t be forgotten. He wanted to write his memoirs. He had an outline for his book like I have an outline for my book! Will my memoirs ever be completely written, or will they be scraps of ideas, saved to a file on my computer for someone to find one day?