Saturday, January 22, 2011


I feeling a little dreamy today. The heater's out again, and I'm cuddled on the couch in my sweater and a blanket. Cate is well into the third hour of her nap. I'm feeling lucky and thankful and nostalgic and hopeful.
I'm dreaming of the future, of houses and babies, of family vacations, of beaches and mountains.
But lately I've been dreaming of the past. I finished a best-seller called The Help just last weekend, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. That's poignant because it was set in the 1960's in Jackson, Mississipi. It's about a young woman who writes the "stories" of black housekeepers and nannies. I was entralled with the characters...and appalled at how they were treated.
I've also been watching Mad Men which is a Showtime series about the advertising agency in the late 50s/early 60s. So I feel sort of consumed by this time-period, and I just keep thinking that the women in these stories could be my grandmothers, and the children could be my parents. It's shocking, really, how much I take for granted- how much the times have changed.
Most of all, though, I'm just captivated by the characters. It makes me want to read the stories of my grandparents. I wish it was possible to read a blog they had written, or just peek in their diaries. Actually, I wish I could lean at the foot of their recliners while they reminisced and ran their fingers across the top of my head. I'm missing my grandmothers.
Honestly, though, people don't tell their whole stories. Not out loud anyway. I want to know not just the events of their lives, but what it did to them. I want to know the stories. I want to know the hurts and the struggles, the "I can't believe I did that"s and the "I'd do it again in a heartbeat"s. I want to know what my parents were like when they were little, what my grandparents were like when they were single and ornery. I want to know if they struggled with the same things I struggle with.
I think it's unfortunate that we get to know a character in a book so much more intimately than our relatives. I've often thought that if I could go back in time to just observe, I wouldn't choose a major moment in history. I'd go back to see what life was like for my parents before I came around.
I'm feeling a little inspired, like maybe I should take a pen and yellow note-pad and take down people's stories. I know it's hard though, for someone to be that honest with someone else. But I think that's something we should strive for.