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Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She’s not around anymore (1897 - 1987), but her memory is as fresh in my mind as if it were yesterday. I last saw her in 1985. I can’t say that everything else in my life is as fresh in my memory as that moment -- which is now frozen in time. I think I am beginning to lose some memories and my memory too, even though I am only 63.She was, for all practical purposes, our mother. But she really was everybody’s pillar, everybody’s rock, and everybody’s anchor. She raised my mother and, 20 years later, my brother and me, then 20 years later my own three children. I was only four when she came to live with us. And then, she was totally devoted to all of us for the rest of her life. She always told me that I would have an incredible and meaningful life, and you know what? I really have!I have always believed that we all come to this world with a mission. We don’t always know or find out what the mission is, do we? Or perhaps, we don’t even realize that this mission is, was, or is about to be. But we are here for someone, something or to learn something, aren’t we? There is a reason and a purpose in our lives, isn’t there? I DO believe so.I’ve never written before. Always wanted to, I always felt that I had something to say or something to contribute. My grandmother, relatives, and a few friends have encouraged me to write a book after they hear parts of "my story."I don’t always find my life story that interesting but I’ve decided to tell “my story” as best as I can remember, and in order to honor "My Mom" today.
Where do I begin? You’d say – start at the beginning, where else? The problem is -- I don’t remember the beginning... The earliest memory I have is at age four and it is pretty cloudy… but I’ll try. My memory is failing me by the way. I don’t think I have Alzheimer’s but it certainly puzzles me. Yesterday, I was thinking of a dish I wanted to cook. I could remember the word in Spanish but not in English. Being fully bilingual in English and Spanish, I had to go to my online translator to refresh my memory. How fair is that? I am sure it happens to all of us but it is beginning to annoy ME.
Well, I've waited long enough! So here it goes...
1949. I was four; my brother was two and a half. He was mother’s pride and joy. He was blond and had blue eyes. I was the first born and responsible… for everything… My brother could do no wrong in mother’s eyes and, you guessed it, I was very jealous of him. I had long black hair that had never been cut (I was told) and dark brown eyes. I was born in May, he was born in December. I had my feet on the ground, at two and a half, he was still a baby and we all catered to him.
I do remember just moving to the fourth floor of a new apartment in Mexico City . My mom, my grandmother, then 52, my brother and I. Our furniture, though I did not know it then, looked like it had come out of an antique shop. We did not have much. My beautiful young mother, recently divorced at 22, had moved us to Mexico City to start a new life. Behind, we had left my maternal great-grand-mother in the port of Veracruz , Mexico , where I was born. We had also left my dad, of whom I had little or no recollection. I know I missed him, or missed having a dad, or was jealous that other kids had their dad and I didn’t but one thing is for sure, I missed the presence of a dad. I later looked for and found him. But you have to wait for that story.
I remember being reserved but not shy. I’ve always loved people and attention. I made friends easily and at that age had very strong maternal instincts. My brother and I played together occasionally. Of course I liked dolls -- a lot -- and my brother loved trucks and trains. I took care of him as if he were my own child. I still do…
We were neighbors with a couple that also had two kids about our age. Their father was Mexican and their mother was American. That was the first time I was exposed to English. I liked it so much, that I used to pretend that I spoke it fluently and would play “American” with them. How fun… Those years were precious.
12/14/2008 ( 4:50 p.m. )
Will be back to read more! Nice writing. My grandmother (1878 - 1965) was a wonderful English Granny. She and I were especially close and I loved everything about her, especially her simple and rewarding life (now as I look back). Her wants were simple: sunshine to dry her hand-washed clothes which were drying on the clothesline at the side of her yard; plenty of fresh lettuce, parsely, carrots, potatoes and rasberries in her garden; lots of spring and summer bees to pollenate the densly planted colorful flowers that grew in the borders along her fencelines; and a granddaugter who delighted in scrubbing the birdbath for her with the decades old wooden-handled Fuller brush. Life with Granny was like living in heaven on earth. She'd brushed my hair for what seemed forever before she neatly wove it into two braids. She'd read to me for hours from her collection of old classics and children's books with the thick British accent which was music to my ears. I want to be like her when I grow up. I think I'm there. I'm now 65, the age she was when I was born.
Keep writing and sharing your story.