Monday, May 29, 2006

in memory of...

Today is Memorial Day and it's also
Today's theme: "In Memory of..."

My maternal grandparents passed away before I was born, but I have always felt a special closeness and connection them. I had some experiences in my early teenage years that have made that feeling even more special. I wrote about these experiences several years ago in a story form. I'm going to share the story in memory of my grandparents. I did add or change some insignificant details to make the story flow, but all of the relevant details are what really happened.

August 1992
"Please God, I know this sounds stupid, but I just want the chance to meet my grandparents. I don't know how, but please, help me."

I closed my prayer and crawled into bed. My thoughts wandered for a few minutes. "My grandparents died before I was born. Meet them? What a silly idea that was," I thought. "Flowers, grandma loved flowers." A smile played on my lips and I fell asleep thinking about her flowers.

November 1992
My key turned in the back door to my house late in the evening and I made my way to my bedroom. I changed into my pajamas, went through my nightly routine, and crawled into my warm bed. The night out with my friends had left me happy and exhausted. I was glas it was Friday and I could sleep in the next day. I hugged my teddy bear tight and I drifted away into a world beyond my own.

"A train? What am I doing on this train?" Just as soon as I thought it, I was thrown off the train. It didn't hurt, but I was suddenly standing on unfamiliar land. I looked around me. To the north I saw a few wooden buildings that has signs that said "store, newspaper, and grain" hanging above. To the south I saw open fields with corn and other crops growing. Behind me was a train track, I knew, and just beyond that ran a little river. Wild flowers grew all around it. Straight ahead of me, I saw an older woman tending her garden. Her long gray dress was worn and a few holes could be seen at the bottom. She was holding a brown woven basket but I couldn't see what was in it from where I was standing. I couldn't imagine where I could be, yet it all seemed distantly familiar. I opened my mouth to call out to the woman in the garden when she looked up and motioned for me to come to her.

A bright smile spread across the woman's face and I knew I had seen her somewhere before. "Good morning, Alicia. I'm so glad you could come to my garden. You look just like your mother." I gasped and tears came to my eyes. This was my Grandmother! I wanted to throw my arms around her and keep her with me forever. Instead, she bent down and picked up a pot with a flower growing in it. "Alicia, this is a flower called a Sweet Pea. It is the flower for girls born in April. I have been saving it for you. I knew you would love flowers like I do." I lifted my hand to touch the pot when my Grandmother jerked her head toward the store. "You don't have much time, you need to go see Grandpa. Hurry!" I was reluctant to leave her, but she motioned for me to go on.

The stairs going up to the little wooden store were a bit creaky, but I continued on. When I reached the porch, I stopped at the door. I could see shelves, barrels, and fruits inside, but the man standing ten feet from me captured my attention. He was a sturdy tall older man. His hair was graying and combed neatly to one side. His brown shoes were scuffed and his trousers had patches on the knees. The navy button down shirt and suspenders he wore covered his broad chest and rounded tummy nicely and I smiled as a picture of Santa Claus entered my head. His eyes had small wrinkles around them that showed years of laughter. His eyes were rounded with thin wire glasses. I knew he was my Grandfather. I watched him pay the store clerk and watched the store clerk hand him a small slip of white paper. Grandpa put it in a small green change purse and shook the clerk's hand. He then took off his glasses and folded them neatly in a sturdy hard green glass case. He looked to his left to see me at this moment. He smiled lovingly at me, but as I prepared to speak, I heard a bell in the distance. "The train!" I thought. As soon as the thought appeared, the train whisked me away and delivered me back to my world.

My eyes shot open and I bolted out of my bed. I ran to my mom and told her the story. The accuracy was amazing. The clothes they wore, the garden, right down to the glass case my Grandfather had used. "How did you know?" My Mother asked. I had only seen one picture of my Grandparents and there was no way I could have known such detail. I thought for a moment and the silent prayer I had offered three months earlier rushed to my mind. Fresh tears welled up in my eyes as I recalled the answer I had received.

February 1993
"Yes, you have to come," my mother said firmly. She had agreed to help my Aunt clean out her garage and I had to go along. The idea of cleaning a garage did not excite me at all. I unwillingly went along, as it didn't seem I had a choice.

When we arrived, my Aunt directed us to the garage and put us in charge of going through a few boxes. "Oh, fun," I mumbled. I lifted the lid to the box and started to rummage through the contents. I pulled out a small black tea kettle and asked what to do with it. My mom's eyes widened as she recognized it as belonging to her sister that had passed away thirty yeas before. "This was Ethel's." The idea of things in these boxes belonging to my family excited me. I went though a few more things. My breath caught as I pulled two very familiar items out of the box.

I held up a small green change purse and a sturdy hard green glass case. "Mom these are Grandpa's. These are from my dream." I opened the glass case with shaking hands and found the same wire frames that I had seen covering the pleasant face of my Grandfather only a few months before. I held the small green change purse in my hands and hesitated to open it. The tarnished silver clasp clicked in my fingers and I reached inside and pulled out a small slip of yellowed paper. It had some numbers written on it. "A receipt!" My mind rushed wildly and I could hardly believe hat had just happened.

I have never forgotten the way I felt as I knew my prayers had been answered. I do not know why Heavenly Father granted me to the opportunity to see my Grandparents, but I do know that it has hand an impact on my life. I know my heritage and because of that, I can hold my head a little higher and walk a little taller because I know how I am.


Valarie said...

What an amazing experience. There are so many things you can take from that.

emlouisa said...

Wow. What a great experience! I totally have shivers!!!!

Jessica said...

Sounds like a SUPER expreience! WOW! :)

Amy said...

WOW!!! That gave me goosebumps. What a wonderful experience for you

Sabra said...

Wow. What an amazing experience!

Lee said...

Wow!! What an amazing experience.

Taffi said...

That is awesome. When I was a little girl I used to have recurring dreams about visiting an older couple that lived in a little white house on the edge of a field, along a ditch. I would pick flowers with the lady. One 'day' she gave me a hug and said how sorry she was I wouldn't be able to visit any more. That was my last dream about them. Years later I told my dad about the dreams and he said I'd described his grandparents, and their farmhouse, perfectly. They died before I was born, too. Aren't dreams like that wonderful?!

Maine Mom said...

What an awesome experience! That is so neat.

Occidental Girl said...

That is an incredible experience!

I like the feeling you describe about how you feel so connected to your past.

Jen said...

What an awesome story! That's so neat that you got to experience that.

Mama Darlin' said...

Wow! I got goosebumps. What an awesome experience~

Heather said...

How amazing! Thank you for posting that.

Rachelle said...

What a great experience! Thank you so much for sharing!