Wednesday, July 18, 2007

In memory of my grandma ... a walk down memory lane

I'm not a native to Tacoma; but I am a near native -- a Tacoma re-plant if you will (within a handful of years it will be half my life's hometown). And this week, the Ruston-born, Stadium grad gritty-legit grandma to whom I credit a large portion of my Tacomaness ... died. And as the hours tick by, I find myself missing her a little deeper. Long-forgotten memories are washing over me like tidal waves. Happy memories that I'm realizing likely formed a foundation for the passion I have for this place I now call home, the place my children can claim as native son and daughters.

Grandma's death on Tuesday unleashed memories that I don't know why were all tied up in bundles in the back of my brain. Maybe there was too much of today occupying my brain space to leave room for the yesterdays we should always cherish.

Grandma, my stubborn, loyal and hard-working grandma, was a waitress for much of the time that I remember. And she seemed to enjoy it, and people seemed to enjoy her. I especially remember the time she spent at Mr. Munchie's, a fabulous homey diner where my brothers and I would sit at the counter and order monster-sized milkshakes as grandma laughed and showed us all off to her coworkers. Later in college, one of my husband's roommates fondly remembered working there with her during his high school days. I remember when she worked at the Narrow's bowling alley, and we'd go there too to see her, grab some grub and occasionally bowl. I thought it was eternally cool that grandma worked in a bowling alley. I believe it during a visit with grandma that I experienced the legendary Pizza & Pipes with the organ of lore, complete with dancing bubbles and way-better-than-Chucky-Cheese entertainment.

And then there's just the nostalgia that has also been escaping my brain cells the past few years. It was grandma's house where I first saw coffee cups hung on those little expanding coffee cup hangers that you hang on your wall (like what are now attached to my own cupboards.) I seem to recall a giant fork and spoon on the wall. Grandma always had the best refrigerator magnets. Awesome Christmas decor. Beaded room dividers. It was in her house (I believe thanks to my uncle) where I first wanted my MTV. (Phil Collins, Talking Heads, etc.)

I'm sure more will come as the days continue.

And, cheers ...

Today I was also overwhelmed by the kindness and caring of the communities in Tacoma. So, to the residents of my grandmother's senior apartment complex who checked on her regularly and reported any worries to local family members, the ones who laughed and cried and gossiped and played bingo with her over the years, who cared about what happened to her this week and will miss her as well. To Latte Linda who let my father and I unload our worries and our sadness on a caring, supporting shoulder -- and who poured a great cup of coffee. To my kind coworkers who've been super supportive whether I'm bawling my eyes out and otherwise freaking out or in a mode of eerie calm and acceptance (it changes by the minute at this point). To the hospice folks who handled everything so lovingly. To the doctors, nurses and others who attended to her. To Pierce Transit for being there for my grandma for decades, and for being the location where my aunt and I ran into each other for another cryfest just hours before we had to say goodbye. To my family, my friends ... and to Tacoma, where apparently it's really hard to go find a place to cry your eyes out all by yourself.

To all of you, thank you.

And to my grandma, thank you for your part in making here my here. I will miss you, but not forget you.


kevinfreitas said...

She sounds like a stand-up gal. Thanks for sharing and our thoughts are with you.

ensie said...

My condolences. Sounds like you have wonderful memories!

Cassioposa said...

Very touching. Thanks for sharing your memories of her with us.

jen said...

She sounds lovely. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Lena said...

Lots of hugs to you.

Treasure your memories and take pride that you are your grandma's granddaughter with a love for T-town.

Call me if you need a shoulder to cry on.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about your grandma.



Sorry to hear about your grandmother's passing.

amocat said...

Thanks for your wonderful words Alicia!

You are making me cry again. I never realized how close inside you had become with my mom, your grandma.