Wednesday, June 18, 2008


As I was pawing through the mail today looking for something, anything interesting to read, I remembered how much I LOVED getting the mail before I was an adult with two homes, two mortgages, two car payments, four kids and a partridge in a pear tree. Back when I was in about 4th grade, I had pen pals. I don't remember the name of the service that I used, but I remember filling out the form about my interests, age, etc. and sending it off with whatever nominal fee was required (or could it have been free?) and waiting anxiously for the information on my newest pen pal. I wrote to both girls from Germany, England, Italy, Ireland, France and a boy in Australia. My pen pal in Germany, Christa, wrote to me for years, right up through college and a bit into law school too. I loved stalking waiting patiently for the mailman to come and tearing down the hall into my bedroom to read whatever letters had come that day. I loved the different hand writings that they had, and the envelopes that the letters came in (mostly airmail envelopes that were blue and very crinkly) and all the different writing papers. I used to collect writing paper, buy it by the sheet, so I could use a different kind in each letter. I miss those days. Now I get bills, magazines and junk mail. I love my email, but there is something so lovely about a letter addressed just to me, in the handwriting of someone I love or haven't heard from in ages.

Then today I had a memory of being a kid at my grandparent's house in Rhode Island (yes mom, I really DO remember things!) play Yahtzee on their porch. I haven't been in that house in over 20 years and I still miss it. My grandmother moved out a year or so after my grandfather died, and the new owners took that beautiful white house and painted it brown. I was so sad about it that for years afterward when we would visit my grandmother, I refused to go for the ride through the old neighborhood. There was something so wonderful about turning onto her road, with the old trees and the lovely homes, and feeling that I was at home, even though we only visited a few times a year. We would go visit all the neighbors, my brother and I, and it was just fun. Now that my grandmother has Alzheimers and lives in an assisted living facility here in Maine, I have some of her furniture here in my home and it reminds me of those times in her house. One of my favorite pieces of furniture is a little table that stood at the top of their curving staircase. It held the phone and a small box with notepaper in it. That table is now next to my side of my bed and I wouldn't have it anywhere else. It has a photo of my husband, a photo of me and Meg when she was 4 months old, a teddy bear that was mine as a child, foot lotion, a box of tissues, and of course my Kevin Garnett bobble head doll. I have a few photos of their house that I keep tucked away someplace safe, just so I can remember all the lovely times there.

I don't know why I have these things on my mind today. I was doing mindless things today while the kids were napping or occupied by my lovely assistant Erika and those thoughts just crept into my mind. I was thinking that I'm not a very good granddaughter, as I don't go visit my Grammy at her facility. When she first moved there, I did go visit a little, but as her Alzheimers progressed and I had more kids, getting there was harder. And I like to remember her as she used to be. She doesn't know me now and that is so incredibly sad to me. I am happy that she came to my home for Thanksgiving and was in good spirits and looked good, because right after that she fell, broke her hip and ended up in rehab. She is doing ok these days and I always ask my dad about her when he goes to visit. And it makes me sad that really, only Meg remembers her before her Alzheimers got bad, so the other kids don't know her very well. I guess that is why it makes me happy that my kids do know their grandparents so well and that living here in Maine was the best thing I could have done for them.

Ok, so I have much too much on my mind and need to go eat some chocolate cake to recuperate.


AndreAnna said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, cupcakes.

I have memories of penpals too.. crazy, huh?

RaycoTD said...

I too have many memories running through my head today. AND, as much as I am trying not to, they are making me cry! 1st anniversaries SUCK!!

Heather said...

I have so many fond memories of mail, too. I was just saying to my hubs the other day that getting the mail used to be so fun, and now it is filled with insurance statements. Blech.

Sammie-J said...

The neighborhood where I grew up is close to where we live now, and although I don't go through that neighborhood often, there are plenty of times I take the long way home just to go down memory lane. I think it's healthy to try and keep old memories alive.
I also think it's healthy to have chocolate cake once in awhile. Mmmmmmm!

CAQuincy said...

I went for a ride to my old childhood neighborhood a few years ago and actually burst into tears when I saw the old house. And not because I was upset at the changes (they turned a garage into a master bedroom! they had a POOL! they put up BLUE siding!). I was upset because my parents never did that. It was just a reminder of their divorce and strange second marriages and how their lives were in limbo and so they never took care of the house. How wonderful to see SOMEONE put some love into that old house--which I still dream about--and yet upsetting because it wasn't US.

I had pen pals too. LOVED the crinkly envelopes, but I could never figure out where to get them myself.

(And I just finished off half a bowl of chocolate mint chip pudding.)

Tigriswillreign said...

I'm with you on letters. Since my grandma refuses to convert to email, I still have to write to her old-school. That also means I get them that way too!

Anonymous said...

I think being a parent makes you remember your own childhood a lot because you now are guiding a little one through their own childhood.

In a way it is of life stuff...and you are closer to your own death...but on the other hand it is awesome and helps you remember who you were.

Heather said...

njyxfHappy birthday!!!! I hope there is delicious chocolate cake in store for you today.

creative kerfuffle said...

happy happy birthday!