This week I move into the apartment next to my folks place where my Grandma lived in for most of my life…
Sister Katie and Muiris lived there for the last three years…had our Clara there…spent the first year of her life in the home our Grandma created. It’s still hard to believe she is gone, but as my Mom said the other night it makes her heart smile knowing that Lois’ home is now making so many new dreams come true.
I honestly never thought I would be back here…to live that is…to explore a “simple life” for a while….but being here is where I need to be, where I have been being pulled for a long time now. Time to make new memories…to find new dreams…to be with my family every day, not just holidays…for time goes so fast and I’m tired of missing everything.
That’s the thing about dreams right? They evolve…some fade and new ones come to light. Most of all I know that my piano in the window will lead me to new inspiration and hopefully the best work of my life.
Peace, be you,
Thought of the day…Lois, my Grandma, who died last night….Feb 22, 2008
There is poetry to be written tonight, yet I do not believe it will spring from my mind. This morning my grandma died. Her name was Lois, was….Lois….She turned 79 years old two days ago. I know this because I called her late at night and for a brief few moments, we spoke of….well, we spoke. I don’t remember about what, how she felt, how the album was selling…oh yeah, she emailed her 80 year old friends about it, though she didn’t know if they’d order any. We spoke of Christmas, where we went to my Aunts’ house in the Desert Mountains where they had built a house from nothing. And I carried her from bed in the morning to her chair with sleep still in her eyes, and I carried her in her winter coat with fake fur on the hood from the car to the cart, the cart to the car, the car to the bed and so on, and so on…..I picked her up, like a servant would his beloved queen, without thought or doubt. I could feel when she was comfortable and sense when she felt awkward. I liked that. We watched the Kennedy center honors and (this is true) I was next to her when she saw falling snow for the first time in her life.
My grandma was born in Los Angeles, went to UCLA, went dancing on the Santa Monica pier to the Tommy Dorsey band on a first date with a gangly charming red head named Milt who she would marry, him fresh from the south pacific and her, a strong headed legal secretary in HOLLYWOOD, the real Hollywood, the Hollywood of the 40′s and 50′s. They went to the theater and she wore gowns. Clark Gable gave her and one of her girlfriends a ride home from school one day when she was 12. She had two sons, one my dad, and then she got polio. Polio was a virus nearly defeated and at 25, a dancing lively mother of two toddlers lived in an iron lung for a year, and would walk on crutches (deadly weapons to naughty little boys) the rest of her life. She was and became more so very independent. She had a girl Lori at age 33, my Aunt, my other Mom in life. A life was lived. Full, and interwoven with hardships and tragedy and joy and meaning….My Grandpa died 17 years ago. He was an amazing man who she shared 40 plus years with. He had a scratchy beard and my sister adored him….everyone did. When he died my parents built an apartment onto the side of our house. So you see, when I think of HOME I think of her. It was cool to have her around, I remember that. She did the crossword every day. She cooked passover dinner every year. She loved Toni Bennett and frank and Bing and Barbara, Sammy and Dean…she was of an era and yet of her own. Every time I visit, for many years now we talk of this city, of Los Angeles today and yesteryear. We compared stories and talked about what was where and what used to be this or what happened to who. It was like we were both completing half forgotten stories that were such big parts of our minds, of our dreams, of ourselves. That was our time, when the rest of the family would somehow or another fade to other places in the house, and we would just be, with jeopardy, or poker, or rummy, or a quick bowl of cereal. She was cuddly and you wanted to protect her, though she held little fear. I have a vision of something my Mom told me…a couple weeks ago my Mom called to say that through the wall she could hear Grandma playing my album. This 78 year old woman listening to her grandson’s passion and work. And then she listened to it again. She was goofy sometimes and passively aggressive by nature. She was strong, stronger than that word means to most of us, yet she knew loneliness. She knew love and hope, she knew me…from day one. And I know her. Tomorrow morning I go home to be with her kids and grandkids and lifelong friends, friends of 60 years….friends who were the witness to her life.