Friday, June 21, 2013

I learned yesterday, via Facebook of course, that my Aunt Harriet died. This was my mother's brother Davis's wife. Both of Mother's brothers, Davis and Jimmy, died before Mother did and Jimmy's first wife died years ago. His second wife is still alive, I do believe. 

We are not a close family but it is sad to think of all of that generation being gone now. I have a picture of Jimmy and Davis and Mother when they were children, Mother actually just a baby. It's one of the few things I kept of Mother's. It was always on her dresser and when her mind started to lose some of its connections, she would show it to me every time I came to visit her.
"Have you ever seen this picture?" she would ask me. "I love it." And she would touch it with her fingertips.

My mother loved her childhood. She never wearied of telling me stories about growing up on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee. Her brothers were the loves of her life. After her father, that is, who never, as long as she lived to tell, could do any wrong in her eyes. Except for one thing. He was too harsh by far with her brother Davis. That, she would admit. Davis was the middle child. His older brother, Jimmy, was by all accounts a golden boy. He had talent in art and excelled in school. He was well-behaved and everyone adored him. And Mother was the baby and the apple of her father's eye and the only girl so she never had to fight for attention. But Davis- well, tucked into the middle there where he was and with a wicked sense of humor which often found its target in pranks which got him into trouble, there was no way he could ever get the validation of his father the way the other two could. And he suffered for it and he got punished for trying (I am playing armchair psychologist here) to get his parents' attention any way he could. I'm sure that my grandfather believed in "spare the rod and spoil the child" and when it came to Davis, he did not spare that rod at all.
Even Mother admitted that. 

It's so odd. I remember when I was a child and we would all get together, my grandparents, my mother and my brother and me, her brothers and their wives and children. We would usually all meet up in Vero Beach, Florida at the Sea Cove Cottages, long since gone.  

We would play in the Atlantic and on the beach and in the pool, we would sleep sandy and close in the little bedrooms. And I, who had no father and whose mother was so unhappy, would look at my aunts and my uncles and their families and I would think how happy they looked. How perfect my cousins' lives appeared to me. No. That's a lie. Not perfect. Just normal. And normal seemed perfect to me then. 

Of course, as I've grown older, I've learned that my cousins' lives were far from perfect but I still think so fondly back to those vacations, to my aunts and uncles, to my cousins. Two of them are gone now too. One, my cousin Bruce, Harriet and Davis's son, who died years ago from cancer, and before he died, his sister, Maryanne, who was murdered.  
So much tragedy. How do we humans contain it all? I do not know. And then, we die. Not to be shallow or anything. But it is the way of it. 

Harriet actually visited in this house. She had come down to spend time with Mother not long after we moved here and she and Mother came out one Sunday morning for pancakes. I'm glad I got to see her. Despite all of the sorrow and horror she had had to face in her life along with some serious health problems, she was upbeat. She was cheerful. She loved my house. 


And speaking of, I spent a good part of the day today with Lily and Owen and Gibson. We went to Target. 

That's what Gibson looked like wearing a barbecue chef's hat, drinking an Icee. 

Owen was wearing his Power Rangers costume which looks like this.

Lily had taken that picture earlier when he was posing before doing his death-defying leap off of her headboard onto the bed which gives me a little heart-attack every time he does it. 

Besides Target we also went to the Big Library, which is what we call the main branch, lunch at Welcome-To-Moe's, and Publix. It was a long day and by the end of our time in Publix, Owen wanted to get out of there and get home. "I feel like I'm breaking," he said. 
"I do too," I told him. "Hang on. We're about done."

One of the things I realize about being a grandmother is that I have a lot in common with my grandsons. I don't really care what other people think and I like to wear whatever makes me happy. And when I hear music, I like to dance, no matter where I am. 

And I hope that my grandsons remember these things about me. I remember things about my own grandfather, born in 1888, that are as present to me as what I did yesterday. Perhaps this is a sign of older age. I don't know. I remember how when it was time to go to bed and I was six years old, he never kissed me, but would show all the affection he could show by brushing my face with his own bristly face. 

It wasn't perfect and I have no idea if it was normal, but it was him and he showed me the pictures in his National Geographic books and I remember that too, especially the picture of Early Man hunting the Wooly Mammoth. I will probably think about that picture on my deathbed. That, and my grandfather's bristly face. 

Family. Again and always. The way the DNA entwines and ladders itself forever and ever as long as the blood shall survive. 

Good night, y'all. 

Happy Friday. Be at peace, Aunt Harriet. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. You say that and all of a sudden I remember someone rubbing my face with own bristly one, affectionately. Could that have been my greatgrandfather?

  2. Mr. Downtown- Absolutely. He held you when you were young. You amused him. So yes.

  3. Anon #1 was me in your last post. I had a brain lapse or something by not signing my name. It seems like all family stuff is flooding through you and you have some touching memories though I know how hard it was for you growing up. I am just so happy your own immediate family is so loving. And your boys... Can they be any cuter?? Gibson in the hat took the cake! Sweet Jo

  4. Sorry for your loss Ms. Moon. Enjoyed reading about your childhood memories and loved seeing the pictures of Owen and Gibson. Take care and have a great weekend.

  5. Hey Mer,

    Sorry about Aunt Harriet.

    This was a really nice piece of writing. Made me think of my own quirky family.

    Sleep well.
    PS That headboard is crazy high looking! I'd be getting heart attacks too!

  6. Hi..i enjoyed reading your blog...very down to earth.

    IF you care of read

    Have a good day.

  7. I love this post. It's made me think about my own grandparents. I think I'm going to make a list of things I remember about them and write them down.

    And that photo of Gibson is the best.

  8. Oh, the Sea Grove Cottages. They are so Old Florida. I miss that old comfortable kind of beach place, with sandy linoleum floors and cheap motel furniture. Everything these days is all about hot tubs and luxury and faux Italian Renaissance architecture.

    Like Elizabeth, I'm thinking about my grandparents now -- things we did together, how they showed affection, things they said to me. Thanks so much for bringing that to mind.

    Gibson is hilarious -- and even before you mentioned the headboard, I thought, "What is Owen standing on?! That doesn't look safe!" I guess if there's a mattress beneath him it's OK. :)

    My word verification is "Maccabees." A Biblical tribe, on your blog -- strange!

  9. I can only imagine the memories your boys will have f you, and they will be so very fortunate to have this blog as a connection with their early lives and the love that surrounded them completely. You have made memories of my Grandad who died when I was three come to me. I can still smell the tobacco from his pipe, 40 years later !! It never leaves us, the love we have been shown.

    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend of solitude surrounded by not too much nature.

  10. thinking of you.

    here's something to lighten your heart...


  11. Yes, yes. So beautiful and true. I'm sorry about your Aunt Harriet. That's my mom's name too. This post celebrated and sparked so many memories, thank you.

    You and yours are originals, and Gibson's photo made me laugh as hard as some of your other paragraphs made me think and reflect, and be grateful.

    Thanks for such fine writing.

  12. Sweet Jo- Mystery solved! Thanks for loving that picture of Gibson. He's a hoot, that one.

    Mr. Shife- (Or should I say Mrs. Epsteen?)- Not really much of a loss to me personally, I have to admit. I mean, I'd be a hypocrite if I claimed otherwise but still, sad. Thanks and YOU have a good weekend too.

    Ms. Fleur- It's WAY tall. But so far, no broken bones have resulted.

    Hilda Gorden- Well. I respect your directness.

    Elizabeth- That's a good idea. I should do it too because there really is a lot I remember about my grandparents. And really- is there anything cuter than a baby wearing an inappropriate hat?

    Steve Reed- I know. Those places used to be everywhere and regular people could afford to stay in them without piling up a bunch of debt to do it.
    I miss them.

    Unknown- Hey! Hello! You're right- we don't forget the love given to us. Or the pain, either, but that's another story. So far, the nature has behaved itself. Mostly.

    Mrs. A- That was hysterical. I doubt I'll be making my own ricotta because no, I don't have goats with whom I have an arrangement to touch their tits either.

    Mel- Thank YOU. Always. You get it. And I appreciate that so much.

  13. I really loved this entry.

    "I feel like I'm breaking." - Good lord, I know what that's like when you've been out for too long and just need home. I'm going to remember that one.

  14. Mary, it's so good that you remember Aunt Harriet and your mother and the brothers. So many have died and yet their DNA is within you. My DNA won't be carried on--I'm the end of my direct line. I'm not regretting it. But it does give me something to think about. My wife's lineage will persist in a way through her cousins. But if there is a time in my lifetime to clone humans, I have some hair saved!
    I like how much you cherish family.

  15. SJ- It's so funny. I can relate so much to Owen and his feelings. They are so much like mine. Magnified, perhaps, and more stridently vocalized. But. Same-same. I wonder if this is true of most grandparent-grandchild relationships.

    Syd- It's just the truth, isn't it? And not only their DNA but their actions as we observed them as children. And how they treated us. All of that adds up to be who we are as adults in this world. Amazing. Keep saving that hair, baby. The world could use more people like you.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.