13 Ways: Someone Like You
Posted on January 7th, 2012
“In three words I can sum up everything
I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
- Robert Frost
It’s Grandmother Grace here. This is my first time to use this recording software. Your Grandfather set it up for me, and he tells me that it is superb, so I will trust his judgement on that.
Your Mum tells me you are having the time of your life in Paris. Well, that does not surprise me at all. I loved Paris, too, as a young woman. I visit it still in my dreams sometimes. I like to imagine you listening to my voice from a cafe near the Seine, sipping warm milky coffee while the sun shines on your hair.
Of course, this damned wheelchair ended my travels decades ago, so we tend to stick close to home, as you know. I am sitting by the windows in our study writing this to you, and it is a brilliant day outside. Our Liquid Amber has burst into bloom and the Japanese Maple is not far behind. Grandfather has thrown open all the doors and windows to let the breeze blow through from the garden, and the magpies and wattle birds are carrying on like there’s no tomorrow.
Do you remember the Liquid Amber? When you were little, you loved to stand beneath its blossoms and close your eyes tight, so that the only thing you heard was the buzz of a thousand bees, and you were never afraid.
My darling girl, I am contacting you not only to say hello from Grandfather and me, but also to tell you some things I think it’s time you knew. I am going to tell you our family history; not the stories that you are used to hearing about when Janie was little – how she would only eat cheese, biscuits and orange juice – and nothing else; or, how she insisted that she talked to aliens from her Fisher Price telephone. And they are not the silly-but-true tales of how Grandpapa and I met while he was admiring the inflorescence on my philodendrons, and how then we stole away together on an impetuous trip to Tuvalu. No; these are other stories that you’ve not heard, but which are quite important to the past, present, and future of our family.
Grandfather is downstairs, by the way, preparing our lunch. Of course, Jocelyn could be doing that, but your dear Grandpapa has discovered that he enjoys cooking, so we indulge his epicurean escapades, Jocelyn and I. Also, Grandpapa is more likely than Jocelyn to indulge my own penchant for a nice glass of chilled chardonnay with my salad. One thing about employing the same housekeeper for three decades is that they become like family. Jocelyn bosses me worse than I boss your Grandfather! Well, I suppose I deserve that.
So, let us begin …
Darling, as you know, your old Grandmother is getting on in years. In fact, I will be 90 next week. Please do not bother yourself with purchasing gifts and cards, as you usually do. There is nothing that I need. We have missed you, of course, and the six months you have been gone feel like a decade; but as we all understand, young people need time to explore the world, and your Mother was no different at your age; nor, I suppose, was I.