Thursday, March 27, 2014

Postcards forever

After my grandfather died, my Mamaw decided it was time to travel, something Papaw never enjoyed. So, she started "Going Off", a term she used that would send me and my siblings into hysterics. She went all over the USA, and even overseas.

In 2009, my sister, my sisters-in-law and I all got together to clean out Mamaw's house for her big move to downtown Henderson, and I found, as my sister put it, "a blue million post cards" that Mamaw bought from all over, but never sent. We wondered what to do with them, and then one of my sisters-in-law laughed and said I should take them and then send them back to the family over the years.

I don't know if she was kidding or not, but that's what I've done, since 2009, sending cards to my  to my siblings with my own weird commentary. And now I've added my two nieces to the send list and, apparently, they love it. These are the first cards they received - my sister took a photo.

What's amazing is how often I can find postcards in the stash for places I've just been or am going to. I can't decide if I should hold on to the postcards she bought in Greece but never sent, because I really do plan on going there once we move back to Europe some day.

Mamaw not only bought postcards, she also grabbed all the free ones that were offered. As a result, she had probably 10 from some big restaurant in, I think, Wisconsin, that claimed to have world famous fried chicken. For a few months, those are the only ones I sent to family.

For a while, I sent the postcards to Mamaw too, with notes like, "Do you remember going here?" But unfortunately, my grandmother is now quite blind. In fact, she doesn't remember traveling. But her form of dementia is different than Alzheimer's - she doesn't remember the trips, but does remember that we've told her that she used to travel. The last time I was in Hendo, I sat with her in rocking chairs out on the front porch of the senior home where she lives now and asked her if she remembered coming to visit me in San Francisco. "No, I don't remember, but tell me about it."

So I did. I told her about how, while we toured San Francisco, she had told me she didn't want to eat Chinese food because she didn't like it, and when I asked her what Chinese food she'd had that she didn't like, she'd answered, "I haven't ever eaten it, because I don't like it." But then she'd tried beef and broccoli at a Chinese restaurant and couldn't get enough of it, and had eaten Chinese food ever since. And how the evening of that same day, we had gone to Fisherman's Wharf for supper, and I'd eaten sautéed seafood, while she'd eaten fried fish, and when she got home, she told Mom I'd eaten raw fish (if it was fried, it wasn't cooked!). I told her about how, at some point on this epic train and bus trip, she and her travel companion had gone to bed early at their hotel, then gotten up in the morning, packed up, gone down for breakfast, and found out that they'd been asleep only a couple of hours.

And she laughed and laughed. And when I was done, she said, "Well, I don't remember any of that, but I sure had fun, didn't I!"

Yes, Mamaw, you did. And the postcards prove it.

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