Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Faded Memories

I've been considering all the wisdom the "old" have to impart on us and the stories - the BOOKSHELVES - tucked away in their memories. My Gramma, who I recently bid farewell to until eternity, had dementia and drifted away from me. It was a slow drift, but the signs were there. She loved my daughter and prayed her into existence after my first three miscarriages. She was highly invested in my daughter's life. Then she starting thinking my daughter was a boy. A simple slip from a gramma to a stranger--a stranger who can't tell a girl from the pink and pigtails to the lace and glitter plastered all over CoCo. 

But even as she faded and drifted from the present, she landed in the world she saw with clarity. Gramma would launch into memories. She told me how she lived in California when she was expecting my aunt, her first child. Grampa was deployed to the South Pacific, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor was fresh on their minds, and Gramma was far, far away from her family. She lived in a fishing district of California and she explained with vivid detail the smell of fish that would assail her when she left her apartment and how she would rush back in to release to her breakfast because of the morning sickness and inability to stomach strong smells. Then she would straighten her dress and leave to do the shopping and go to work - keeping the home front alive.

What a memory - WHAT A STORY! It was simple but it was her legacy. We brush past the elderly sometimes as annoyances, but their lives are rich with stories and tales of a past we will never step foot into except through their words. As I search for characterization in my novels, I am finding my best inspiration from the people who breathed history, lived wisdom and hardship, and have come to the last few miles of their journey and look toward Home.

Who's memory will you listen to today?

6 comments:

  1. Your blog post hits me right where I am today, Jaime. I am at the beginning stages of brainstorming my next novel and my protagonist presented herself to me this afternoon in the form of an elderly woman. It seems like a God-smiling kind of coincidence to me. I look forward to seeing what will transpire on paper through the richness of this character's experiences. Research will be so much fun! Thank you for sharing about some of the ways your Gramma touched your life. I lost mine twelve years ago but amazingly her influence has always stuck.

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    1. So cool when that happens!! Enjoy learning your protagonist and the stories she has to tell.

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  2. Aren't the elderly amazing?! I just love listening to them tell their stories. They are so wise and have so much to share. My grandma who was close to my heart passed away two years ago just before her 90th birthday. She was 100% there, and very amazing. She was the oldest of 12 children and would tell us all about how it was her job to make and bake the bread EVERY day. I miss her!! Keep spreading the wisdom of your beloved grandma, Jaime. :)

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