Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ghosts of Generations Past

I arrived a bit early to the community center to teach my early morning yoga class today and as I dragged my big bag of props in,  I realized the center was preparing for a quilting show. At first glance this doesn't sound very exciting, and everyone who knows me knows I am the not a crafty person. But something drew me to these pieces of art. It was more than just the dedication and craftsmanship put in to them, it was the memories they evoked.

As I walked along the rows of handmade quilts, I mentioned to one of my students how I wished I had paid attention when my grandmother tried to teach me to quilt. She said her mother quilts and she also had no interest in learning, but treasures the quilts she does have.

In fact, just last week I took my grandmothers last remaining quilt off my bed. It was getting too shabby and was falling apart. I want to save what is left of it, but need to find a better was to save it rather than just stuff it into a closet somewhere. I know for a fact her quilts are meant to be saved. They are one of the few things that survived Hurricane Katrina when most of our other household possessions were ruined.

The memories of my grandmother got me to thinking how I also wish I had let her teach me to bake bread. Even now, more than 12 hours later, my memory can still bring up the smell of bread baking in her kitchen and I've got a serious carb craving going on.

Later, I received the invitation to my Godfathers memorial service in the mail. There was a brief bio of his life along with a picture. This is a man whom I spent so much time with growing up, yet I never knew he was a medic in the army. I wonder if that's why my dad - his younger brother - became a corpsman in Vietnam? My oldest son has been talking to recruiters and is seriously considering enlisting and going to corpsman school. He came up with this plan on his own, not knowing there was a family history.

As I was making dinner, I carelessly reached over and grabbed a hot pan with my bare hands. As I said some not nice and very unyogic words, I realized I not only used the exact words my grandfather used to say, but I said them in the exact same tone.

So what was my first thought to do with all these ghosts coming up today? Call my mom of course.

But I can't. She's also gone now, alive only in my memories. Another ghost.

A few weeks ago, I sent this picture to my sister:

It's my grandparents with each of my kids. And if you look carefully in the right corner, you can see my mom and part of my dad in the picture too. The picture is only eight years old, but three of the adults are now gone, and the kids are no longer kids. A couple are making plans for college and military. And the little ones only know their grandparents and great grandparents by the stories I tell them.

I'm not sure what to make of all these ghosts and memories today. Is it my loved ones trying to reach out to me or just my realization that time is indeed flying by way too fast?

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. I'm glad to have learned how to bake my Grandpa's famous coffee cake, and, I made it with my dad two years ago. Important pieces of ourselves.