Matchbox cars and rummy

I haven't seen him in a few years, but it's what he represented that I'll miss the most. Even though we weren't that close, it's kind of the closing of an era. An era to the end of all my grandparents.

It's not like we spoke all the time, but I always enjoyed the comfort knowing he was there. It's not like we had a major connection while I was growing up, but he'll always be there as a strong vivid character in my childhood memories.

We used to live with my grandparents (we call them Meme and Pepe.....it's french) in MA for a while. They lived on top of this huge hill -- the very top, that had a couple barns, a greenhouse, a huge garden, a stream, and a large droopy willow on the property. The house was huge, the basement was cold and damp (used during the underground railroad), and the house always smelled of a wood stove. The house was super old, I loved every inch of it.

The memories go on and on... The patio (which I realized a few years ago was actually a mud room), the upright clawfooted bathtub in the yard with a Mary statue inside, the barn where me and my sister played "angels" when the town came over on Christmas eve to hear the Christmas story, the hours and hours my cousins and I played on the BEST tire swing, and hanging out in the barns with the animals. Pepe taught us to play rummy, how to kill a rabbit (to eat...blachhhhh), how to weed a garden, how to save every issue of National Geographic, how to save money, wash dishes, husk corn, and so many things that played a vital education role in my life.

Pepe had a huge greenhouse, and on the rickety wooden counter tops were piles of dirt and soil, I never saw the actual counter... When we lived there my little brother (who was 3 or 4 at the time) would go in the greenhouse with Pepe everyday (for years) and play with his matchbox cars in the soil while Pepe worked. About 5 years ago I went back to the house, Pepe was gone, but the matchbox cars were still there in the greenhouse, on the counter, in the soil.

I think the hardest part of this is losing a person who brought such joy to my life. Of the top 5 memories I have as a kid, he was there for 4 of them. He represented happiness, security, forgiveness, hope, and grace. Yes -- totally cranky grandpa -- but so loving and kind. I loved his nickname for me, and I loved how much he loved and adored my little brother. It’s such a cliché to say that you don’t know what you’re missing till it’s gone…but it’s true, I didn’t realize all this until recently.

So, I’m flying back east tomorrow…expect some mobile bloggings to take place…not sure if wireless internet exists in Williamstown…

1 comment:

amersons said...

a beautiful tribute to your pepe.
you are an amazing woman and i know he was proud of you.

love you!