Wednesday, April 04, 2007

with love from smalltown, usa

i don't see much of my paternal grandmother anymore. her health has been deteriorating for years now and she was never very fond of flying, nor does my father seem very fond of going to the midwest if he doesn't have to go. she missed my high school graduation because the stress of travel triggered a heart attack the day she was supposed to fly in. when i was a kid, mom and dad would send me stateside (we lived in germany) for the summers to spend time with the grandparents. back then, grandma and bob-ba (that's what everybody called dad's dad) lived in podunk-backwoods, missouri in the the old white farmhouse and i used to play with the stray cats and collect eggs from the chicken coop, all that was really left of the farm by the time i got there. but eventually, our only contact was cards and letters between very rare visits.

grandma's letters are all the same, pretty much, especially now that bob-ba's dead and there are no more farming tales. good to hear from you, the weather here is cold/sunny/rainy/hot, saw or didn't see so-and-so, someone-or-other is coming to visit next week, don't want to keep you, take care, love grandma. guess there isn't much excitement going on in tiny town, MO. sometimes she talks about her last trip to mexico, but those are fewer and far between now that she can't really drive herself around anymore. she just smokes her cigarettes and reads her paperbacks and does her best not to be a burden to anyone.

this card i found tucked away with a lot of non-descript birthday cards. the note is probably one of the most detailed she ever sent me. i must have been forced by my mother to write a thank you card for a camera that the grandparents gave me as a gift, thus prompting this reply. bob-ba was still alive, but at some earlier stage of his illness, so i was probably about ten years old when this was written, give or take.

sounds like there must have been a big family get-together with my dad's brothers but there used to be a lot of those and i can't remember one from most of the others anymore. one uncle died a couple of years ago, the other is apparently not speaking to my dad for mysterious reasons. i don't know. we used to have some damn good times and most days i forget that now is different. i think gramma was happier when she wrote this, but then a lot has happened in the time since.

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