Thursday, July 14, 2005

Gram's attic

My grandmother, Emma Ethel Hentschel, was legally blind from the age of 35. She lived to be 100. Her visits to my home to stay with her daughter, my mother, for a few months each year enriched my life as I unconsciously adopted her years. As a kid I just saw her as my Gram, someone who was a nice to have around, someone who was real annoying as she competed with me for my mom's attention, someone who could be counted on to have peppermints in her purse, someone I could read to and know she really enjoyed my efforts, and someone who kept saying to me as she gave me some "treasure" wrapped in newspaper,"Here, this is for you as you are the only one who will appreciate it. If you don't want it, throw it out.".

OK...was I the "only" one...or did she make me the only one?

Whatever, here I am with six decades under my belt and I still have many of the little treasures she gave me. I also have a thirst for memoirs from the turn of the 20th century. I still love reading aloud, although I have no one to read to anymore...this blog is sort of taking up that slack I think.

Her lasting gift to me was time travel. By identifying with her era it allowed me to move back in time. After that first move it was no problem to move back farther, and farther. I get intense pleasure from reading books written in other centuries that are memoirs of interesting people...shanghaied college men forced to work their way around the horn on a clipper, independently wealthy women traipsing around Hawaii. Richard Dana's Two Years Before the Mast captured my imagination so strongly it has remained in my top reread list for years.

No comments: