I am sitting at my desk wondering where the last eight weeks have gone. Have I done enough? How many pages have I written? How many new pieces have I produced? When will I know for sure if this is what I am meant to do?
Of course writing is what I am meant to do. If I were paralyzed from the nose down and had to communicate by typing with my eyelashes, I would make it happen. I have something to say, and whether or not someone likes it, I am going to say it.
When I was a kid our family took summer vacations to my dad’s side of the family in Massachusetts. I loved Gramma and Grampa Vieweg because we were always loved. This family cherished its members, we never had to worry about disappointing anyone (although Grampa yelled at me once when I was twelve – I wasn’t embarrassed at what I did, only that he yelled. Dad scolded him after I ran upstairs). I hated being the center of attention, I didn’t like eyes being on me, expected to perform at the drop of a hat (at piano lessons, even). I was very shy and very meek… but so loved.
Gramma and Grampa have been gone for several years now, but I still remember that house – my sister and I in the yellow bedroom with the fan in the window (no air conditioning), we yearned for the swimming pool and loved the drive up to Keene, New Hampshire. I remember there were lots of little yellow worms floating in the air like newborn spiders, looking for a new home. They were gross, but it’s a memory I cannot escape. Teeny tiny worms – strange the things we remember.
We didn’t go in the cellar without a grown-up, even into our teens. I still don’t know why – the house used to be the Carriage House in the 1700s, so the cellar was rock and dirt – what was the kitchen had once been the hay loft, I think.
I am remembering Gramma and Grampa today because my Uncle Frank passed away suddenly this week. Frank was my dad’s brother-in-law, and he was always fun. I didn’t realize that he was drunk most of the time, because Mom and Dad shielded us from that information. Looking back, I don’t think I ever saw him without a beer in his hand and a cigarette gently dangling from his bottom lip. Thin as a rail, he was. I remember his voice – strong, stern, loving to us – perhaps I painted his memory in a way that I paint most – with the prettiest colors and most flattering angles – because remember people should be pleasant, not difficult.
Uncle Frank was the fun uncle, Justin and Aaron are my cousins, they’re closest in age to myself and my sister, so maybe that’s why I felt so close to them growing up – I don’t know. I haven’t see that side of the family since my cousin Clayton’s wedding, I feel like I’ve missed out on so much – and now I can’t go to say goodbye.
So I’ll remember the laughs and smiling times, the voice that said, “Do ya know what we saw outta that window? A Moose!” with that wicked-smaht Massachusetts accent. Wicked Smaht…