Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zoetic (Lucy)


Written by Lucy, my grandmother. [1913-1985]










Just a few days ago I was thinking about my cousin Jo and then what happens? A letter in the mail. I haven't corresponded with her for at least five years, maybe more. We live so far away from each other. She's a terrific person: kind and funny and supportive and empathetic and one of those people who conspires to make others happy. Including me. (I hope I've done the same for her a few times.) Jo is a tiny blonde with curly hair and a bottomless heart. Our Grandma Stewart died when we were still kids and even though I've never told her this, Jo always reminds me of our shared grandmother so when she sent me our grandmother's written history it seemed especially appropriate.

I never saw my grandmother stand. The entire time I knew her she was stricken with multiple sclerosis and wheel-chair bound. My first memory of her is in front of the TV, me on the floor, her in the wheelchair, Grover debating with Cookie Monster.

Before the M.S. changed her life so drastically, I knew she was an artist but Jo's gift taught me things I didn't know. Most astonishing to me is that she wanted to be a writer but all of it ambushed me. Here are some of her words:

          "I was born in the Markinch area (a Scottish settlement in Saskatchewan) on February 25, 1913 in the biggest snowstorm that year. There was a lot of excitement about my birth because there were twins. First a little boy was born. The little boy was dead. Mom and Dad were not expecting me. When I came along, all four pounds of me, Aunt Lucie said, 'what are you going to do with that wee little doll? Why, she can sit in my hand!'
          Mom smiled and said, 'I'll wrap her in a blanket first and then a pillow, so she's an armful.'
          Aunt Lucie gave me my first bath while Mom shed a few tears for the dead little boy...when Dad returned a couple of days later from Regina, there I was. The baby boy had been put out in snow. Dad cried, as he hated to have to bury the baby. Aunt Lucie cried too. She suggested Mom and Dad call me after her so they named me Lucy."

I knew none of this. Not that she was a twin. Not how she came to be Lucy. Not even her birthday. Reading the 39 page document and the attached news articles was like discovering a room in the attic, like opening a place in my life that had been there all along but I didn't even know I'd been living with it. Thanks Jo.

17 comments:

Oilfield Trash said...

This was a pretty sweet story.

Tim Riley said...

What a wonderful discovery. Just goes to show, the power of the written word has no time limit.

Munk said...

So cool.

karensomethingorother said...

Oh that story is wonderful! I have tears in my eyes. I wished, oh how I wished my own grandmothers had left something--anything at all for us like that. Something intangible but wonderful. Instead my grandma used to always tell me that all the nicknacks I'd bought her as a kid would be mine when she died. Thanks grandma.

Underground Dude said...

Always a cool discovery to learn the stories of our past and gain a little more insight into those that have been or come into our lives. Thanks for sharing.

The Defiant Marshmallow said...

This is as good as gifts get in this life.

And I did not cry.
I did not.





much

Nicole said...

Wow. What a great, gratifying gift she left for you all.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a wonderful gift from both Jo and your Grandma, across many miles and years!

manders said...

That's amazing. I wish I had something like that from my grandmother. I vaguely recall some stories she told me, and photos of her old farm.... But I know there's so much more I'll just never know. I also think I would like to leave something like that if I ever have kids/grandkids.

Alittlesprite said...

It's wonderful to discover new things about our family history.

dbs said...

@OT Thanks.
@TR Very true.
@Munk I agree.
@karen Yeah. Way better than trinkets.
@UndergroundDude Thanks for visiting.
@TheDM Just let it out man.
@Nicole I like it too.
@DSWS Yes, a bit of time travel.
@manders It makes me think about that too.
@sprite Yes it is except for the inbreeding and stuff. JK.

Teachinfourth said...

Stories - as well as memories - are a wonderful thing to have.

Laoch of Chicago said...

Wow, how wonderful.

Alittlesprite said...

LOL! That only happens in Canada right? JK...

Ryan said...

What an amazing discovery and story, it's such a pity that you didn't have more time with your grandmother but maybe the best gift she gave you was her Scottish heritage.

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

As it turned out, she was a great writer, DBS. Thanks for sharing her story. I suddenly love the name Lucy.

Michael said...

I'm a little envious of you. We must be of similar vintage because I'm at an age where I'm curious about my ancestors. I'm not expecting a gift like the one you received, but maybe I should spend some time with the oldies while they are still alive and ask them to tell me their stories in person.

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