The mark of a good grandparent, regardless of the number of grandchildren, is that they have their own special relationship with each child. I was lucky to have that from both my paternal and maternal grandmothers, who were actually friends, believe it or not. I am talking about this because there was a discussion in one of my groups about what inspired us to become writers. It was a good question. We each had our different stories but I talked about Gramee, my maternal grandmother. Remember, I spoke of her a couple of posts ago. Yes, the one who was sent to the back of the bus sans grandmother. Anyhow, I was in such grief over her passing that I wrote a fantasy fiction novel, making her a pivotal character in order to ease my pain.
When I was younger, I often stayed with Gramee or she visited us while my parents were either working on their Masters Degrees or were having a “Married People Getaway”. We would walk everywhere (Gramee didn’t drive). If we were in Providence, where she lived, it was to the Star Market to get groceries and a Star Tabloid Magazine. If she was staying with me in Teaneck, she would walk me to school and to the Grand Union in Foster Village for groceries and a Star Tabloid Magazine. I learned all kinds of things from her like not to mix ammonia and bleach and what happens to people when they die. She crocheted sweaters, hats, and blankets (I still curl up in the one she made for me). Gramee tried to teach me to crotchet, but I was terrible. She got me a Latch Hook kit of Tweety Bird, instead because it was simpler and I was actually pretty good at that. I tried crotching again when I was pregnant with my oldest son, but like I said, I’m terrible.
Unfortunately, as I got older, I got caught up in my own life and didn’t call as much. I will always regret that. The last significant amount of time I remember us spending together was when she came down to Hampton for my college graduation. She stayed with me in my apartment, while my parents and sister stayed in a hotel. I painted her nails and we talked. The morning of graduation was so hectic that I almost missed it. Anybody who has attended Hampton or a Hampton graduation knows that if you aren’t there at least an hour before they play Pomp and Circumstance, you ain’t gettin’ on that campus. That particular graduation was star-studded with Will Smith, Frank Reid, and Daphne Maxwell Reid in attendance (I hate to think what it was like when President Obama gave the commencement). Well, I was running late. Fortunately, I knew the back way in past the VA Hospital. In my rush I had forgotten bobby pins from my cap. Gramee reached in her hair and pulled out two. I was catching a cold that day. Gramee reached in her purse for tissues and a cough drop. I barely made it to the line in time. But I made it thanks to Gramee.
I remember the last conversation that I had with Gramee. It was a couple of months before she died. I had called to tell her that I was getting married. My husband-to-be had never met her personally, but had seen her pictures. He did have the opportunity to speak to her about his intentions and she gave her blessing. I fully expected her to attend my wedding, but it was not to be.
I was not getting over my grief, not even close, so I wrote a novel called The Truest Singer. It was supposed to have gotten published, but that was not to be either. After I posted the facts to the group about my writing inspiration, I was told by a very astute member of my group that my novel was a success in that it healed the pain of Gramee no longer being here to do her puzzle book, read her tabloids, crochet, walk to the store in the snow, and reach into the “magic purse” to pull out whatever was needed. Who would leave the extra fork on the plate as it makes its rounds or give me the extra piece of bacon because I wanted it? But that’s the good news about being a writer. Gramee would make a very entertaining character, don’t you think?