Her white hair was pulled tightly away from her face knotting on top of her head, stretching her wrinkled skin so that it morphed her face into something scary. Her high collared black dress disappeared into the colorless quilted cover that fell to the floor from the high four poster bed. I stood there looking at her, not moving. I was afraid. She looked like the witch I had seen in Snow White.
This is the only memory of my father’s mother that I have stored. Wherever those things go that are catalogued in my brain, I’m not sure, but that is all I have saved. That one experience, that one moment in time, the snapshot saved of my grandmother when I was four. Interesting. Maybe she was not at all what I remember but somehow I am convinced that a child’s insight can be right on the mark, more often than not.
Things I have learned since about my grandma fortify that perhaps I was able to see things through a child’s eye more clearly than the adults around me.
Mother said I came into the family one cold Sunday night exactly one week af- ter the New Year rang in joyously. Evidently my arrival was less spectacular. There was no bassinet waiting for me. I was placed in a dresser drawer that was lined with a blanket and then placed on my parent’s bed. Why there was no bassi net was quite curious since my
parents could afford better. The answer seemed all to clear. Perhaps it was the presence of my father’s strong-willed mother. She ruled the house, so I am told, and deemed that such foolishness for a cradle or such non- sense was a waste since a drawer would do just as fine!
And thus my life began with memory-erasing visions and events relative to my father’s mother.
When I was about the same age, four or five, remember sneaking up behind the family cat and pushing it out the third story window, wondering if it would fly. I hope it did. But the finale of that event has been erased from my memory for whatever reason.
But I do remember playing house in cardboard boxes with the janitor’s daughter and Daddy paddling me all the way home when he found me. I was having such fun. How could I know, my southern father’s prejudices were hard to die and well ingrained.
I remember the best of days was when the garbage out back near the alley got full up and we would look for treasures in the barrels and cans. I don’t remember the smell or the treasures, if there were any, but I do remember what fun it was just looking through the mess.
But try as I might, I can only remember that one frame in time about my paternal grandmother. And thus, begins the embryo of my story. Memories that I have been able to imprint beyond today from my past.
I have written several books about my life and journeys that I have taken, but this book, A Girl With Moonlight In Her Eyes, is more about those lived memories and those experiences I have unconsciously filed away and which have strong emotions attached to their recall.
(A Girl With Moonlight In Her Eyes will be published late summer of 2014)