Monday, February 8, 2010
EEEK! A GHOST!
I had a joyous experience that I will never forget. It is as clear in my mind today as it was many years ago, when I was seven. There was never a doubt. And because I was so young, I am even more convinced it was real because I was so naively 'pure' and without influence or prejudice on such subjects.
Growing up in the 'lower income' segment of America, my family lived in a small house owned by and adjacent to my maternal grandparents. It was a great time because grandma spoiled my sister and me rotten with love, treats, surprises and permissiveness. What more could a seven-year-old want? And so did my grandma's mother, who lived with them. We called her Big Grandma (that's her) because she was, compared to Small Grandma, at least. She was perhaps stereotypically, an older Italian 'grandma-type' with her white hair in a bun, a round, ruddy face to fit her largish heavy frame... and always, a warm smile. As a recent and older immigrant, she spoke only Italian but that was never a barrier to the fun we had together.
I remember the day she passed away, in the house just next door. The adults kept my sister and me in the kitchen behind the closed dining room door while they sadly said their tearful good-bys as Big Grandma lay dying on the living room couch.
About six weeks later, as Big Grandma was out my life and mind, our family was coming home from a movie and I, as the self-appointed front door-opener, ran ahead and up the steps to unlock the door.
When I burst into the living room, there, on our easy chair in the corner, sat Big Grandma in her familiar black and white poke-a-dot dress, tan stockings and black shoes. She had a warm smile for me... as always.
"Why Big Grandma," I hollered with absolute delight... and I can still hear myself saying it, "What are you doing here?" She didn't answer, but held out her arms to me. I turned to mom, dad and sis, who were just coming up the porch steps, and shouted, "Big Grandma is here!"
But then, when I turned back, she was gone.
I remember being so excited as I told everyone what I had seen. I was so happy! Big Grandma came to say good-by to me.
And she did!