Week 32: Family Memories. Records are the backbone of genealogy, but memories are the glue that hold our history together. For which memory of a loved one are you most thankful? Describe that moment in time, answering the who/what/when/where in the details. How did this memory impact your life and the way you approach family?
Not all memories are happy ones, but those that stick with you usually have a resounding message to them. I like to talk about the spice of life, the stuff that makes you real and gives a person depth, emotion, life, character, whatever you want to call it. A memory that I am most thankful for is a not a happy memory, but a lesson in feelings.
When I was 11, I broke the growth plate in my right ankle. I was being a dumb kid, you know, acting like an 11 year old. My joints have always been weak I guess you could say. Literally, I can trip on a line painted on the floor and twist my ankle just walking down the hallway of my house. This particular summer day my Grandmother Arvin had gone to get her hair done. She went every two weeks to Trudy, her beautician for many years.
Trudy worked out of her home, and had two boys just a few years older than me. We had been playing together every summer for years, and this was no different. This year I brought a friend home from Maryland with me, Natalia. Trudy's boys and us were having a fine time exploring the woods, running amok, and eventually ending up jumping on the trampoline. We did tricks, and jumped, and did lots of daring tricks. Now, when I twisted the right ankle I should have had enough sense to stop. When I twisted the other ankle, I really should have had enough brains to sit down and not keep bouncing... but it was so much fun! What did I do? I started bouncing, one legged, on the right foot... and snap.
Well the others ran down to get my grandmother, who's hair had just be taken out of rollers thankfully or I am sure she would have driven around the rest of the day with them in. In the car I get bundled and away we go. As a dependant of an active duty soldier we go to the nearest military base for treatment, Crane. They took x-rays, splinted it, and sent me 2 hours south to an orthopedist. The most heart wrenching moment for me was when they had to cut the jelly bracelets I was collecting off of my ankle.
You are probably thinking that the lesson is to know you limits right? Well, to be honest, it was what happened next, and by an older relative, that made the biggest impact on me.
We had to go past my grandmothers house on our way to Jasper so grandma called her brother and his wife to come with us. Once a week we would have dinner with them in Jasper, so we might as well kill two birds with one stone. At the house, Gordon and Betty came over to help get me comfortable in the car, while grandma goes in with Natalia and gets a pillow plus a few other things.
Now, Uncle Gordon was usually a very nice man. However, the lecture he gave me, while I was alone in the car, still makes me angry to this day. I was lectured on being a selfish, stupid, self-involved girl who had no thoughts or cares for anyone but herself. If I was a normal girl I wouldn't be off running around the woods and acting like a boy. I was a horrible grand-daughter for doing this to his sister and he hopes that I am in a lot of pain to teach me a lesson.
It took me almost 15 years before I told anyone what was said to me that day. Did his message sink in? Yes. For a long time I doubted myself and the love my grandmother had for me. I tried extra hard to be a perfect grand-child. However, in the end, what I learned was a lesson about how words said in anger, frustration, or high emotion can be hurtful and unwarranted. It was a lesson in controlling myself, my anger, my frustration, and my words... because words are powerful.
photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photo pin cc