November 28, 2020
The year 2020 has been difficult for us all– there is no doubt about it– but last night I was reminded once again that none of our memories are ever being lost. Some feel that important life moments are being taken away from them, when in reality, now is an opportunity to slow down and reflect on what matters to most of us.
Last night I babysat my oldest grandchild Sophia who is 6 going on 32. This morning I woke up and remembered the things that we did last night which were in fact not much different than the ones I enjoyed in my childhood.
Every Friday night when my Grandparents electrical store closed my Grandmother would make Cheese and Crackers while we watched Tommy Hunter around the television. Each time I babysit Sophia she asks me for cheese and crackers while we watch television– and I hope she continues this tradition with her children.
We have deep discussions about friends and life and we try to create memories. Last night we made up a fictitious family ancestry line for Bella the dog. So far she has 6 brothers and two sisters, and next time we will take the imaginary geneology line even further. We also talked about the iconic FAO Schwartz Toy Store in New York City where her teddy bear was from. I used to buy my sons a treat there when on my buying trips there for my store. I can’t wait until she is old enough ( or should I say interested enough) to watch the film BIG which reminded me and others– that it’s okay to savour childhood while being an adult. As George Bernard Shaw said: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing”
Sure, we laugh and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath all the fabric is the child we always will be. As we watched The Gingerbread Man and laughed at his antics she does not read my mind that whoever created this animated little film must have been pretty sadistic and created many nightmares for small minds.
I understand her fascination with the film JAWS but I try to steer her into watching the Lego version– or the Jaws ride at Universal Studios where it cost her Grandmother 25 bucks to ride it. Mimicking Elaine on Seinfeld I tell her it was ‘fake fake fake’ with many hand gestures. She repeats my ‘Elaine line’ two hours later.
But, is she any different than I was? I still remember the day somehow a preview of Edgar Allan Poe’s film The Pit and the Pendulum was slipped in before The Sound of Music at the Princess Theatre in Cowansville, Quebec. It remained in a corner of my mind for a whole lifetime. I can still see that pendulum going back and forth to this day.
Sophia understands Gammy can’t get down on the floor to play because of her bad knees just like I knew my Grandmother’s tight Eaton’s corset didn’t allow her to do much. You just accept it as Gammy sits on a giant teddy bear and then realizes she can’t get up so she scoots on her butt over the hardwood floor to the stairs and then flips over like a beached fish and pulls herself up to the stairs. It’s all in a day of making those memories and I am sure Sophia will remember that incident for the rest of her life. I know I will and have reminded myself not to wear socks on hardwood floors if such an emergency happens again– absolutely no grip.
I have so many things I want to share with my Grandchildren, and most of them are shared events that I had with my Grandmother Mary Louise Deller Knight. Although some of us would like to forget what has happened this past year, many like myself feel that communication is key. I am never going to forget how many people have been sick and died. I lost one of my best friends this year to COVID, but at the same time she would not want me to forget that people are still living. My Grandmother used to remind me that she would never have yesterday, and tomorrow I would be bigger than I was today– so we needed to remember that today was a gift– and for the love of God– stiff upper lip and pay attention. I did, and I will never forget a moment I shared with her just as I hope my grandchildren will remember too.
Dedicated to Sophia, Tenley and Elia in hopes you might read this one day. I love you so much.