Monday, May 13, 2013

Thoughts of Her Came Rushing Back

I was five, maybe six, when my grandparents went to Bermuda.  I had no idea where that was or why they were going there, but I did understand they were going on a vacation.  We didn't live with my grandparents, in fact we'd lived continents apart for half of my young life.  Nevertheless, Granddad and Granther were leaving, and we -- Dad, Mom and the six kids, were seeing them off.  We were a musical family, even back then.  Expression through singing was the norm, and so only in retrospect does it seem odd that we children sang a goodbye song to send them on their journey.

"Now is the hour that we must say goodbye.
Soon you'll be sailing, far across the sea,
While you're away, oh, please remember me
When you return you'll find me waiting here."

After we sang, we gave Granddad and Granther kisses and hugs and they were on their way.

I remember that scene vividly.

Today, I was running errands after work and one of my stops was Ollie's...the discount "department" (junk) store.  I needed a hammer.  I grabbed the small basket rather than pushing the shopping cart, confident that my search for a hammer did not require anything bigger than the basket.  When I located the hammers, I discovered there were options and Joe hadn't been specific on which kind of hammer he wanted... only had suggested Ollie's as having the cheap ones.  As I examined the selection, 16 oz. Rip, 16 oz Claw, 20 oz. Rip, the canned music overhead caught my attention.  Frank Sinatra was crooning, "Now is the hour...."

I decided to take one of each hammer, and as I walked to the register with my basket o' hammers, my mind and heart were flooding with the memories of Granther, of that day nearly 50 years ago, the last time I remember saying goodbye to my beloved grandmother.

Years later I understood more about that trip.  The adults already knew Granther had terminal cancer.  The vacation was taken while she was still feeling strong enough to enjoy it.  I'm sure that vacation was bittersweet for those old enough to understand the realities of life.  For me, it is always how I remember her, that last goodbye.

After they returned from their vacation, I'm sure we visited them, but those times I do not recall with clarity.  The next moment burned in my memory is the moment my mother got the word that she needed to come, Granther, only two years older than I am today, was at the end of her earthly life.  She passed away in late December 1964 -- I was six and a half years old.

In all the years that have passed I honestly do not remember ever hearing that song on the radio or even on a record.  I have sung it over the years, but today, out of the blue, I was six years old again, saying goodbye to the beautiful woman I knew for too few years.

It was a lovely memory.  She was a lovely woman.

Grandad and Granther, years before I met them!


Kathleen Baumgardner said...

That was beautiful, Judy. Music is always what brings the memories back for me. And the tears. I think I am doing fine and a song comes on the radio and before I know it tears are streaming down my face. Darn David and Jason both for loving music so much! For months I could not stand having any music of any type playing because it was too painful. Between the two of them, the only music that neither of them cared for was rap and Jason liked some of that. LOL. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

Judy's Corner said...

Thanks, Kat. Definitely, music does evoke memories of people and of times. I'm not a fan of rap either, LOL.