Part nine of my Nana stories. - Cricket
During the last year of her life, my grandmother took to wearing her class ring: Boston University, Class of 1936. I do not know why. I never knew her to be nostalgic for her college days. One day she put it on and left it. I felt the obvious question would be unwelcome.
That last summer, she kept a copy of Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle-Stop Cafe always among her papers. She was a chronic reader, but it was a little unusual to see the same title remain for long. When we cleaned out her apartment, I absently picked it up, and saw that she had marked this passage.
"Now, you ask me the year somebody got married... who they married... or what the bride's mother wore, and nine times out of ten I can tell you, but for the life of me, I cain't tell you when it was I got to be so old. It just sorta slipped up on me. The first time I noticed it was June of this year, when I was in the hospital for my gallbladder, which they still have, or maybe they threw it out by now... who knows. That heavyset nurse had just given me another one of those Fleet enemas they're so fond of over there when I noticed what they had on my arm. It was a white band that said: Mrs. Cleo Threadgoode... an eighty-six-year-old woman. Imagine that!
"When I got back home, I told my friend Mrs. Otis, I guess the only thing left for us to do is sit around get ready to croak.... She said she preferred the term pass over to the other side. Poor thing, I didn't have the heart to tell her that no matter what you call it, we're all going to croak, just the same...
"It's funny, when you're a child you think time will never go by, but when you hit about twenty, time passes like you're on the fast train to Memphis. I guess life just slips up on everybody. It sure did on me. One day I was a little girl and the next I was a grown woman, with bosoms and hair on my private parts. I missed the whole thing."
Wiping away a tear, I gently placed the book in my box.
And so the story ends, as all stories eventually must. Is it a true story? Yes and no. My grandmother was complex, and loving her was no less complicated. I believe that each person who knew her knew a different woman. That was who she was. All I can say is this is my story.
This is our story.
I cannot tell the truth about my grandmother because I do not know it. Though I was as close to her as she ever allowed anyone to get, she shared with me what she chose and took the rest with her. That was who she was. Yet I like to think that she gave me herself as best she could. That will forever have to be enough. She loved me from the beginning. I loved her until the end. We loved each other as we were and that is enough.
That is my truth.