Monday, June 02, 2008

Her melody

As I look around my house, I see more and more that within its walls are all kinds of stories. Stories of places I've been, of people I love, of things I've done. Stories that tell a little bit about who I am. So one project I think I'm going to take on for this month as a part of the "home" theme is to share a little bit of my home with you. I wish I could invite you in, make a cup of tea, serve up some goodies, and have a good chat, but unfortunately that simply isn't possible for the majority of you. So instead, I'll welcome you in through my blog. Get comfy and make yourself at home. And hey, if you want to do the same, let me know! I'd love to hear some of the stories that come from your home, too! It doesn't have to be daily - mine won't be - but leave me a message in the comments if you want to participate.

So here goes... part number one of the yet-to-be-named series.

She is one of my most treasured possessions. I saw her in a box of things my grandpa was getting rid of one day, and snatched her up. I had to have her. She doesn't have a name, nor is she pristinely perfect. Her hair is falling out in places and her apron strings are beginning to fray. But she sits in a place of honour on the dresser beside my bed, in just the same place she sat in the spare room at my grandma and grandpa's house. The spare room, second from the last down the hallway on the right. The spare room with big puffy yellow wallpaper flowers, white wicker headboard, and white bumpy-textured blanket on the bed.

On the nightstand sat this doll, and every time I slept over at Grandma's, I would wind her up and fall asleep to the beautiful, tinny song she played while her red sparkly skirt brushed the tabletop as she turned in slow-motion circles.

Today, the small cylinder in the music box underneath her skirt is beginning to wear - the raised bumps that pluck the tiny tines are not quite long enough in places to reach anymore, and some notes of the melody fade in and out, while some don't play at all. But she still plays enough of the song to carry me back to my early childhood. To sleepovers at Grandma's house when I was very young, probably eight years old or younger. After that, she was very sick, and couldn't have us over very often anymore. She passed away when I was ten.

As much as the doll reminds me of my grandma and those nostalgic childhood moments, the song parallels my memories of her. Snippets of a melody - some notes fading, some that are lost, but enough that remain strong and clear to remember how the melody carries on when the music begins to falter.

I wish I had known my Grandma as an adult. To learn to appreciate her not just for sleepovers and shopping trips and weekends in the trailer at Birch Bay, but for who she was on a deeper level. Her amazing gift of hospitality. Her stories. Her deep, deep love for Jesus. Instead, I have to be content to know her as I saw her as a child... Helping her bake a coffee cake or cinamon buns for another newcomer's welcome lunch after church. Gardening in her yard or at the trailer. Teaching me to memorize the 23rd Psalm. Building gingerbread houses with her at Christmas time. Some notes I remember on my own. Others, my grandpa sings for me, taking little moments every now and then to pull me aside and tell me about her -what she was like, what she loved, who she was. He still loves her so, so much. I know he tells me these things because he doesn't want her to be forgotten.

But like the doll that sits on my dresser, she is still a part of my life. A part of my childhood. A part of my heritage. And I'm grateful I still have her melody.


Katrina said...

Beautiful thoughts, and I loved reading about your memories that surround this doll. I was especially struck by the sentence: "I wish I had known my Grandma as an adult." I often feel that way about the people I knew as a child only in awe, as older and slightly incomprehensible satellites revolving around the periphery of my childhood experience. Now that I could actually talk to and learn from them, relating at last from a place of understanding, many of them are gone. All those stories. It makes me wish everyone was a writer. :)

Karen said...

ok so that brought some tears to my eyes. Beautiful post, Hillary.

Melissa said...

Aaaaand I'm crying. That was beautiful Hillary.