I wandered up to my office this evening and thought, “I have nothing for a post tomorrow, not a thought in my head.” I wasn’t frenzied or worried, as in the past. It was a passing thought, as I settled into my chair and contemplated the screen. It generates no income, I’m not sure it even makes me a better writer, but I do it religiously every day. Some days I am brilliant, at least in my mind. Other days I fall back on inspiration from my photography, or what arrived in the mail or the weather.
I could skip writing my blog for the day. Really, everyone gets a sick day right? A personal day? No, I can’t. I have done this for so long now, it isn’t something I have a choice in any more.
January 29, 2010
Aunt Lee was married to my dad’s big brother Uncle Jake
Aunt Git was my mother’s college roommate and is my godmother
Aunt Gin was my dad’s sister who gave me my first pony
My own mother had died a week earlier
Just got back from a weekend visit to Lee and Git on the Cape. Drove down yesterday – one week since becoming a Motherless Child and I needed some “mothering”. The Ladies were wonderful and ready to supply comfort food and love.
I pulled into Lee’s driveway just a minute before Git. She looked so fragile and frail since I saw her the end of October. Said she was feeling shaky and dizzy. Lee welcomed her into the warmth and scents of her kitchen. We had a wonderful “comfort food” lunch; homemade chicken soup, salad, rolls and homemade cookies. We talked for hours and poured over the photos Git brought from her trip to Africa in 1994. She visited Mom and Arnold while they were living in Kampala. I had brought photos and memorabilia from trips Git and Mom made to various places together through the years, including the Yucatán.
Git wanted to stay and come out to dinner with Lee and I, but was not feeling up to it. She left before dark. I am a bit worried about her. Lee and I went out to dinner at Bleu – a fun spot just down the street, that she loves. Had fabulous scallops and talked about Jeff’s wonderful cooking. Early to bed as Lee was tired.
Awoke to the smell of fresh coffee and an apple pancake breakfast with fresh blueberries. No one can say she didn’t feed me well! We talked of everything from politics to family and I remembered a time in my childhood that had slipped my mind.
My Aunt Ginny was a beautiful woman. Dad and Uncle Jake’s younger sister. She had a horrific dent in her forehead, which I was told was caused by a fall from a pony as a young girl. We were always careful to wear helmets when riding because you did not want to end up like Aunt Gin. I remember those Sunday dinners at our house in Byfield when she came to visit. I absolutely adored her. She wore Jeans – unheard of back then, a big, tooled, cowboy belt with an enormous silver buckle and cowboy boots. Her shirts were checked cowboy shirts with pearl snaps. I thought she was the most wonderful woman alive. Howdy Doody as a girl, a big girl.
I dreamed of running away and living with her on her farm in the wilds of New Hampshire. In my mind I would somehow arrive on her doorstep and she would take me in. I think she taught at a school for “bad boys.” I would never have to go to school but would get up each morning to feed the chickens and gather their eggs. Her scruffy, mean old dog would love me. Gin and I would ride her horses through the woods and fields all day long. She had a string of paint ponies she had shipped from the West and “broke.” I coveted her beautiful, silver-covered western parade saddle.
One Sunday she came to dinner with a man. She was wearing a flowery dress and stockings. She sat on the couch with this man, Ed, and giggled like a girl. I as so angry I couldn’t be in the same room with her. I hated Ed for changing her. I couldn’t relate to who she was trying to be. My mom told me she was marrying Ed and I was beside myself with grief. Where was my perfect, crazy Aunt Gin??? Then, they came one day with as stringy kid named Bobby who was Ed’s kid from a previous marriage.
HE got to LIVE with Aunt Ginny at the farm!! I was destroyed! I was supposed to live there. Just she and I. What had happened? Later, I learned Aunt Gin was pregnant. She lost the baby in a car accident and Ed died shortly after in another horrible accident. Bobby was never seen again. But Ginny was changed and my dream was crushed.
Lee asked if someday I would write the family history of the Walsh’s. I don’t think I am up to a non-fiction version but perhaps parts of my fictional memories will come to be written.
Lee and I walked the beach and I took some pictures of her on the sly. She would not think them complimentary but I see her strength and beauty. Such a wise woman. I laughed at she and Git. when they let out a “shit” here and there, or “life sucks!” and were so genuinely at peace with life.
I have a treasure in the stunted glimpse into her life that Git wrote and gave me. It i along with her short biography of the Uncle and Aunt who raised her. What a life she lived! Leaving her mother in Argentina at eleven years old, sailing for three weeks alone to New York, to live with people she hardly knew. I hope she is OK, but remember when I called to tell her Mom was gone, she was silent for a moment then said to me, “Martha, I am not afraid of dying. It is not scary to me at all.” I wish I had the strength and wisdom she and Lee have found in their lives.
Hmm, I think I’m getting there…