Posts Tagged ‘Memory’

Maw Maw

March 14, 2016

I have had a some time to process things. I updated my entry from Saturday and I mentioned that I had been out of town for a funeral. I have decided that I want to post more about it because this isn’t just a blog, it’s a series of imprints of my mind at certain times in my life. I never cared much for photographs but I love memories and I love stories. What happened over this last week was sad but it was also beautiful and great too. I would like to tell you a little bit about it.

On Sunday, March 6, 2016, I got word that my grandmother had passed away after a final heart attack in the nursing home where she lived. As the funeral was planned, I tried to focus on my homework and I began to clear my academic schedule. It was actually kind of hard going to class on Tuesday night knowing where I would be going the next day. I drove down to South Carolina with my brother and my mother’s husband and it was perfectly pleasant. It hardly felt like we were going down for a funeral until we arrived. Everybody did a good job keeping things light. My mother’s side of the family is always great at keeping things happy and friendly.

It was at this point that I learned that I would be a pallbearer along with the five other grandchildren which included my two brothers and my three female cousins. I pushed that nervousness aside and, after a nice evening with my uncle, I went back to the hotel to make sure that the latest Media Update would be posted. The next morning we met with our cousins and it is always amazing to see how they have grown up. We used to see each other all the time but now there are years in between each meeting and they have grown into very intelligent and interesting people.

We went off to the funeral and it was beautiful, sad and even funny at times. It was a celebration of her life and I was suddenly hit with it all. Pallbearing was not as tough or scary as I thought it would be. I felt deeply honored and I felt a duty to my family and the woman I had known so well. We did not drop her. After a fond yet teary farewell, we went back to my uncle’s house for a huge mess of barbecue. That is when all the family stories came out, including a lot of stories I had never heard before. We talked late into the night about the family and that moved onto the present and the future. We parted ways and we returned to good old Maryland.

I did not tell any of this for sympathy. I spoke of this because I wanted to honor the woman I called Maw Maw. In that vein, let me tell you a little about her.

I love to write. When I first started to write a long time ago for fun, I was reminded that my grandmother had been a writer. She wrote prose and articles as part of her duties as church historian for decades. It inspired me to keep at it and eventually I started my first blog and then this one. I also really love crossword puzzles. One of my favorite memories about Maw Maw was sitting and doing crosswords with her. She used to do National Enquirer crosswords because you could send them in for a cash prize. She would send them in under her grandkids’ names to see if she could get them a check for a little cash. I would sit and help her since she had started to lose touch with modern pop culture. Most importantly she was the nicest person I may ever meet. She was always there with a smile and a helping hand and it would be a challenge to find somebody to say an unkind word about her.

She will be missed but she lives on inside the people she touched.

A Halloween Memory

October 13, 2014

I vividly remember a Halloween when I was a really young kid growing up in Roland Park in Baltimore, Maryland.  The sidewalk in front of our house seemed to stretch on forever in those days and for all intents and purposes it did.  Trick or treating started with walking down to the sidewalk and turning right and going south.  We would swing back towards the north end of our neighborhood later in the evening before we got too whiny and frustrated.  I don’t remember what I was dressed as.  In those days my mother made every Halloween costume I wore and they were usually superheroes.  So imagine I was Batman, Superman or a Ninja Turtle (Donatello 4 Life) or something or other.  Yes, I did say this was a vivid memory and yes I do know what that word means.

This particular Halloween, we walked to the end of our walk and through the iron gate and hung a right.  I think my brother took off running and for some reason I wanted him to wait up for our group.  It was Halloween and I had heard all the legends behind the night and I knew that it was not just Candy Night.  This was All Hallow’s Eve the day before All Saint’s Day and it was a night to be wary of.  Evil spirits prowled from the shadows and looked for victims but they would leave anyone wearing a costume alone.  Of course, this was a kid who believed in leprechauns when he attended Pre-K at Boys Latin.

The point is that if evil spirits prowled the night, then they had to be ruled by Satan.  In my tiny little world, there were only three forces: Heaven, Hell and Humanity.   As progressive as it was, Grace Methodist Church had kind of drummed that into me.  So I figured that if I was going to fool the evil spirits then “Stop in the name of the Lord!” was not going to work out.  So I yelled out “Stop in the name of the Devil!”.   To this day, I can’t remember who yelled at me but I don’t think it was either my mom or my dad.  It could have been a neighbor or my grandmother but  I can’t say for sure.  Regardless of who it is, I got scolded for taking the Devil’s name in vain.

The scolding terrified me, I remember that much.  I was not scared of being in trouble with whoever scolded me or being in trouble in general.  I was suddenly afraid that I had invoked Satan and that he could be coming for me.  After that day, the Devil became He Who Shall Not Be Named for a long, long time.  I became very superstitious about somehow invoking demons and the Devil which somehow also figured into the placement of my arms while I was sleeping.  I was terrified by bullshit for way too long because somebody else actually believed that you can summon an extra-dimensional, evil-alligned creature with mere words.  This altered my world view for a long time and led to a lot of anxiety.

These days I don’t believe in any of it.  I’ll gladly sing along to any Satanic Death Metal song that catches my fancy and I love reading all types of mythology about demons.  I’m not stuck in the box that Christian Mythology put me in anymore.  It allowed me to embrace even more facets of Halloween and spooky mythology.  Although I carry all of the minor scars of that one event and the subsequent anxiety, I think it’s made me happier in the long run.

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