Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

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Family history

This Saturday is the memorial for my Grandma Dorothy. I'm halfway between the Sunday, March 11th printing of her obituary and the upcoming memorial, and so she's been on my mind. And I've had time to realize that I want and need to know more about her.

That's because I've had trouble remembering stories about her.

Dorothy was, in my experience, very quiet and almost birdlike. She became more so near the end of her life, and that's become my dominant mental image of her. Another image is one that I don't have direct memory of: Dorothy walking with me when I was a toddler, having trouble walking the slight rise of her stretch of NE 28th Ave. here in Portland. It really would've felt like a hill to a little kid. I say "really would've felt" instead of "felt" because I can't remember that far back (though I have spotty memories going back to age 2 1/2), so it'd be a little dishonest to say I remembered. But...

I've been trying to remember other things about Grandma, things from when I actually had a memory and had dealings with her, and I've had trouble doing so. My memory of her is spottier than I'd like. It doesn't really reflect her delight in things, her fondness for children and pets (one of my favorite photos of her is one I took in the Nineties, of her holding family pet poodle Tess in her lap), her sense of humor (like her coffee mug that read "There's a sale going on somewhere, I just know it!"), her working life, her church life, her youth in rural Idaho, her early motherhood raising her daughters in that same rural world...

But I'm lucky. Plenty of people know those stories about her. And we'll all hear from each other at the memorial. We need those stories. I'm realizing that I particularly need them.

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