Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes says: "It's never too late to take up with a courageous, wild, calm, mostly sane grandmother. Or grandfather. They are everywhere. Just like the young are everywhere. Speak to each other, and you will likely not ever again be as strangers."
One of my co-workers lives two blocks from me. I think she is a few years older than I. And wise. And fun. I've walked past her house dozens of times while walking our dogs. This past week I learned that she will be moving several miles away to a condo. Walking the dogs the other night I saw her car in the driveway, her door ajar, so I stopped and knocked and was of course invited in. Dogs tied up outside, we had a wonderful talk. I said to her that I had never stopped by, even though I thought about it many times, but now that she is moving I felt compelled to stop. Even though I had never stopped before, I had felt comforted knowing she was there. Like a grandmother that I could call on if I needed her. (Even though she and I are close to the same age.) She is a wise one. She is funny, and loving, and well-read and a joy to be around.
I remember spending the night with my Cajun grandmother, Mammau, many times when I was a little girl. She read to me from books that were not necessarily for children, but nothing inappropriate, just historical or religious. She gave me my first diary and encouraged me to write every day. One of the regular things we did was listen to the radio at dusk. She sat in her rocker, and I snuggled up in her big feather bed. The radio was on her dresser tuned to a station interrupted by static now and then. Usually it was WWL out of New Orleans, an early version of talk radio run by the Jesuits at the time. The subject matter was varied, and the station was known for broadcasts of dixieland jazz concerts. Late at night, my grandmother and I listened to Southern Gospel programs, and some local preachers. Some were quite entertaining, causing us both to laugh. She had a little terrier named Snooky, and I would sometimes lure him to follow me home by taking a piece of bread and giving him tiny pieces along the way. Then Mammau called to ask my mom and dad if he had followed me home and I pretended like I was surprised and had no idea he had followed me. She knew.
Mammau taught me many things, but the best thing she taught me is how to be a grandmother. My nine year old granddaughter is here for the weekend. She has started a blog. I am very proud of her. She writes!
Who in your own life has been a grandmother to you, or who inspired you in your early efforts at writing?
[Note: on the photo above, I wish I could attribute it to the person who took this picture, but it was emailed to me by another blogger and that person had no idea where it came from. If anyone knows, I would like to give this photographer the credit he or she deserves, so please contact me.]