Mar 26, 2010

Posted by in Family Life | 0 Comments

An Early Memory

“Memory is a net.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

I remember going to a school playground with my grandfather. This is one of my earliest memories. I recall sliding down the slide and my Grandpa Quinn caught me at the bottom. I think I was about 4 or 5 years old, with my hair in pigtails and my bangs fringing my forehead. I remember wearing a dress that day, and the cool metal of the slide chilling the backs of my thighs.

I recall sharing a mug of beer with Grandpa. He gave me my own little miniature mug. I can still smell and feel the foam as it touched my lips. I liked the foam but never did care for the beer – I still don’t drink beer!

I would often spend nights over at my grandparents apartment. As I grew into a teenager, I have vivid memories of Grandpa, sitting in his rocker recliner. I remember Grandpa not remembering me. I can still see the frightened look on his face, trapped in a body that was failing him; trapped by a mind which would not let him remember who his children and grandchildren were, along with the woman he married.

Grandpa died when I was in eighth grade, on October 16, 1977. For a long time, all I would see when I thought of him was the picture saved in my mind of him lying in his casket at the funeral home. I remember thinking that my mom was old enough to not have a father; she was 44 at the time. I know now that that was wrong (ironically, my own dad died the year I turned 44).

Funny how now, some 33 years later, the memory of my grandfather’s last months and funeral are not quite so prominent. Instead, I see myself zooming down the schoolyard slide, with Grandpa waiting to catch me when I reached the bottom. I cherish the memories of being a carefree girl, surround by a net of love from her Grandpa.

The picture at the upper left was taken in 1939; my Grandma Lucille and Grandpa Joseph Quinn are shown with their four children. The picture at the lower left is my Grandma Lucille, with my siblings and I ( I am just to the left of Lucille, with my hair in pigtails).

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