March 22, 2008, my grandfather was the guest of honor at an open house for his 92nd birthday. A few weeks earlier, my Aunt had sent me an email that two boxes of Grandma’s things waited for me in Grandpa’s closet. Aunt Marta knew the boxes contained more of her writings, but that nobody in the family wanted to hold on to them.
The boxes were too huge and heavy to carry. After the party, I loaded two paper bags with the notebooks, loose papers, folders and binders. Over a week’s time, I weeded out Grandma’s writings and discarded other things, such as workshop flyers, newspaper articles, etc. that were personal to Grandma but meant nothing to me.
Over the weekend, my brother visited me from out of town and we went to spend the day with Grandpa. After lunch, I retrieved the last box. Contained therein were chapters of Grandma’s memoirs and random stories about their life in the sawmill camp in Arizona and New Mexico during the mid forties. Last night, much to our pleasure, my brother, boyfriend, and I were transported back through time with Grandma’s stories.
I am taking my time putting together the story of my Grandmother’s life, of what it was like for her in the 40’s raising kids in the sawmill camp while my grandfather worked in the mill. My aunt has already written about my grandparent’s childhoods and lives up until the time they married. I would like to pick up there and build upon our family history.
I keep a clean and neat house, but right now, my coffee table contains numerous stacks: one of binders, notebooks and journals, another of handwritten material, another of poetry, and a final stack of typewritten/computer generated stories. These are all treasures to me.
While friends and other family have wonderful memories, I feel like I have so much more- a compilation of historical events that helped shape my Grandmother into the wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, as well as the common bond of being writers.