Letter to Grammy, February 2010
By Alice Hodgkins
It's funny how when I sit down and try to think of memories of you how quickly, yet how faintly they come. I remember that your favorite color was yellow and that's why you loved gold jewelry. I remember that you were always kind and brave. Even now, I can't quite explain how I know that, but I do. You loved well, especially your grandkids. I relished being in the same room as you, because I was sure to have your undivided attention. If I had something to tell, or show, you were not only willing to listen and watch; you were delighted to. It was your highest priority. If I sat down to play my cello, I would look up after one song, and you would be there listening. I would come home from school, and there you and Granddad would be, on the couch, with no other objective in mind than to talk about my day. I remember the lyric quality of your voice, and the way you laughed. Even when I knew you, you still laughed like a girl. You would throw your head back, and clasp your hand over your heart, as if trying to contain your joy. But you never succeeded, it would overflow anyway. When I was very small and heard you laugh it always mystified me. I couldn't quite grasp your quirky humor, but the magnetic quality of that laugh made me want to get in on the joke. There are other small memories floating around. They are hard to piece together, because while they were happening they were just life. For the most part they were not marked as important or valuable, so I let them slip away, and now I miss them. My picture of you has holes. I remember you speaking strongly to a teenager in the street for cursing in front of your grandchildren. I remember the drawer of warm clothes you kept in your guest room especially for us, and the Mickey Mouse sweatshirt from it, which hangs on my door. It is still my favorite. I remember the homemade lasagnas you left in our freezer after each springtime visit. And I remember that when you did leave you would cry. Cry getting into planes, trains, and cars. You were sad to leave us. There is one thing about you, which, even when I am old, I will still remember. I will remember your hands, long and graceful, with beautiful fingernails. They were always soft from all of your hand cream, smoother than any I have ever seen. I will remember your hands gentle in small acts of love and kindness. Your hands chopping vegetables in the kitchen, your hands tying a sweater around my shoulders, in case of chill, and when I was small your hands bathing my back with sweet smelling soaps, and your hand in mine as we walked. I will remember your hands.
Last time you saw me I was thirteen, and awkward. You never got to read a story I wrote, or hear me play my Bach, or see me dolled up before a spring dance. Grammy, I've grown up. In March, I have a twenty-page senior thesis due. In April I will turn eighteen, and in May, on your seventy-sixth birthday, I will graduate from high school. I wish you could be there. I have so many things to tell you, but I suppose they will wait. I miss you.