What do you think about at 3:15AM when you’ve just been wakened by two dynamos (one 3 pounds, one 20 pounds) tearing across your bed in the heat of battle? Usually, I’d just roll over and go back to sleep but as Amanda mentioned, the neighbors were out having a discussion and it kept me awake for a while. So of course, my mind started thinking “What shall I blog about tomorrow?” Up from the hazy depths of my memory (maybe I had been dreaming about them) came visions of my paternal grandmother and my maternal great aunt. And I wondered what it would be like to know them now, at my present age, in this time.

Grandma lived in Wisconsin. She had 9 children, Dad being #6 I think. I remember very little about her. We flew out to visit them once when I was 5 or 6, and then had that memorable drive across country when I was 10 and where I threw up in every single state we hit. Not a fun trip for me. I know she came to visit a few times but I just have vague memories of a crabby woman. But having lived a little longer, I understand her more. Staying for any extended amount of time in someone else’s house, where they have set routines that you are obviously intruding on, wears on you. Also, being away from your routine and your friends can affect you. Add to all that, seeing my father get crankier with age (said with all love and respect, Dad) I can see how she might not have been at her best when she came to visit us. But if I just knew her as a person, not a grandmother, I wonder if I would have enjoyed spending time with her. Or would I have found her too provincial, from a small town in Wisconsin? I know she read voraciously (I have lots of her books) and she loved to go to the movies. I do know she managed to birth and raise 9 kids without going insane, so strength was a major character attribute. She died before I was old enough to find out.
Auntie was my mother’s aunt and my grandmother’s only sibling. She never married, had a career in the city long before it was fashionable for women to do so, and was fiercely independent. She loved finding new authors where she could buy all their books and then bring them down to the beach to share with everyone during the summer (are you getting an idea of where I came from?)She used to say she couldn’t breathe down on LBI because there was no smog in the air – it was just too pure for her. She needed to go back to the smut of the NYC air. She loved machines and gadgets, and going through her stuff after she died was like a treasure trove for me. I know that sounds awful, but there were so many things tucked away that I found fascinating! She had lots of tall, antique pieces of furniture, with drawers everywhere (love them) and in every drawer, there was something interesting. I remember when we visited her in her apartment (I thought it was so grand), she never minded us rummaging around. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s before I could really get to know her. My memories are mostly from the nursing home after the disease really took over. It killed my grandmother to have to put her into a home but the amount of care she needed was too much for my grandmother to handle.
I wish I could have known these women better, not just through other people’s memories. I might have liked them or not, but I would have liked the option. I’m pretty sure I would have loved Auntie because, evidently, we are very similar in our mannerisms. Every now and then my mother will do a double take and say she would swear Auntie just passed through.
Anyway, that’s what I was thinking at 3:15 this morning.

3 Responses to “THOUGHTS FROM 3AM”

  1. noble pig Says:

    Well you have a lot more productive thoughts than I do at 3 am. Usually I will myself into hearing some type of boogeyman and lay for the next two hours with the blankets pulled over my head!

  2. amanda Says:

    You were much more productive than I was, I was planning an evil revenge that involved fireworks directed at their bodies…I agree, it would have been nice to know Auntie and Grandma better. Although, I have much clearer memories of Auntie when she still was in the apartment and relatively clear minded. Even when she first went to Chestnut Hill, she was coherant and would talk to us and feel the material of our clothes.

  3. PG Says:

    If I can’t sleep I have toy designs running through my head which I promptly forget by morning! Your aunt sounds like an amazing person, isn’t it wonderful how family traits live on?

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