Nothing like the smell of fresh brewed coffee. I enjoy meeting friends for coffee and conversation.
Is there someone in your life you'd like to spend a casual hour with to reminisce or reconnect?
Today write about that conversation. Who would you most like to be with during this conversation? This could be a parent, a child, a long lost friend or relative. Even someone who is no longer living or a person you've never met but would love to converse with.
What are the things you want to ask them? What do you most want to tell them?
Coffee and conversation is one thing that my grandmother Taylor and I didn’t really do when she was alive. We were too busy being at odds with one another. In the summer of 1975, I began living with my grandparents Taylor. As I did so, I quickly discovered I was entering a fully sufficient household with plans and routines of their own – most of which centered around my brother and his sporting pursuits. I am sure grandma believed that by including me in their activities that I would begin to feel at home; I didn’t. Quickly I grew embittered as Rich’s activities and dreams were pursued while mine fell seemingly on the dust heap. Throughout high school, I blamed her as he reason I didn’t have friends or do things on my own.
After high school, I moved back to the town I was born, and went work full-time as a nurse’s aide There, I also acted on my exasperation by doing all things she worried when I was a teen. Those evenings after work began by frequenting bars, following a local band trying to “make it”. My group of friends in those days definitely included those of the opposite sex which my grandmother had always forbidden. Each family dinner attended was my chance to regale the group with my latest exploits in this regard. Every story meant to throw in her face that she could no longer control me. Even my anorexia was a bid to wrest control I perceived that she still had over my life from her by deciding when and what to eat or not. For years, as I slipped further away down that deadly spiral, she remained ever present, with constant suggestions of how to fix me.
All of these years, I had always been sure so that she thrived on being in control. After all, she was a strong woman for her time – Leader of the Democratic Women’s Association of Cattaraugus County, NY, President Tri-town Trojans Little League Football Association, Machias Town Clerk and Head Buyer of the Delevan Wholesale Food Co-op. Her sense of control, though, didn’t appear to extend to my brother. Rich got a pass. He had been her “son” since birth, placed lovingly in her arms to raise by my mom. Of course, he was also male,and the baby. Therefore, my brother was allowed to attend school and other functions that existed only in my dreams.
Years after her death, I learned some reasons for her strict rules – her paranoia really toward males in my life. That is except my husband, Gary. However, that’s a story for another day. Fresh off the farm and alone in the big city, she was only 16 years old when she had met my grandfather, my mother’s father. Quite gregarious even when I knew him as an old man. I imagine him as jovial, more than attentive enough to woo a teenage girl who had been orphaned at a very young age. Pregnant and a staunch Catholic, it meant marriage at 17 years old to a man that she might not have otherwise, as well as everything that transpired afterward – that baby’s death at nine days old, subsequent infidelity, and divorce. She wasn’t just reveling in holding me under her thumb as I had surmised and hated. In her way, she was trying to protect me from things she knew I could not understand, because she had been too young to comprehend them until it was too late.
Coffee with grandma, though she’d probably drink tea, would be great. I’d thank her for the loving care she gave but I hadn’t understood. Tell her that she was right about my husband when she insisted that he was my match even in times when I had doubts. Because of her example, I was willing and able to have a friendship with my husband’s ex for years, which helped make family outings more than the tolerable encounters that many blended families endure. Introduce her to my kids; she died the year before the birth of my eldest son. Generally to let her know that her guidance in those critical years though unappreciated then mean the world to me today.
Thank you for sharing your writing Nora!
“Please, Come in, Medora Jane Rice.
Would you sit a visit a while? I have tea, coffee or Postum. I remember you liked Postum.
Sit here in this little kitchen chair at the old wooden table covered with a calico table cloth. Grandma Rice, I am so happy to have you here to visit with me.” I said
“I am happy to be here. Oh, Goodness, this Postum tastes so good. It has been 56 years since I was treated to a hot cup of Postum,” quietyly she stated.
“Grandma, I know that you can only stay for a bit, but I was wondering if you remembered coming to the San Luis Valley in a wagon?” I queried.
“Memory seems to be weak, but I remember the trip from Kansas to Colorado. The long trip had scary events as I recall.” Grandma murmured between sips of Postum.
Her slight figure leaned forward ever so slightly. Her thin lips caressed the heirloom teacup. Her eyes seemed to be envisioning a scene of years long gone by!
“Oh, my dear, ” she slowly ventured into the scene remember. “Brother John was struck by lightening as we crossed the vast valley. We feared we had lost my baby brother.
Thank goodness, he recuperated and was my best friend forever.”
“Wow, that must have been frightening for you and your family.” I retorted.
“Yes, I must go now my dear child. I will come again. Thank you so much for the delicious Postum. It was the best cup of Postum I ever had.”
“Grandma, must you go? I want to hear more! I exclaimed.
“I am quite exhausted. Love you little one,” she stated as she she disappeared down the path past the cow barn.
I was left wanting more.
My great-grandmother. She always seemed like a source of wisdom and strength, but she died when I was about 12, so I never got to relate to her as an adult. I want her to see how well my life turned out, and all her other great-grandchildren. I want to ask her what helped her get through her long life.