Scene: An office with a purple wall, downtown Los Angeles
It is written that April is a the cruelest month. Without divulging into those memories, I will just have to note that I was counting down the hours until May Day.
Growing up May Day was a special day shared with me and my grandmother. She would make baskets and get us flowers. It was a celebration. It was joy. It was for these reasons that I had to make a point to call her.
Work calmed down long enough to take a few minutes to talk. I used to call her more often. After certain events transpired this weekend, I felt the urge to start doing it again.
Grandma’s memories are still very much intact. She will tell you the most amazing stories but also tell you nothing about herself. She is secretive but sweet. Giving but guarded. Her memories are treasured.
“I wanted to call to tell you Happy May Day Gram.”
“You remembered?! No one remembers my baskets.”
I wanted to call my dad to tell her to make sure he called her too. I texted a nudge to my brother.
“Why do they do that anyway on May Day?”
“I really don’t know. I think it has something to do with the May pole. It started in Europe. We’ve been doing it ever since I was a kid. Maybe if you get on the internet you can find out and tell me.”
My grandmother is in her mid seventies. I fear that one day her memories will disappear as well. I know that she doesn’t reveal a lot about her own, but she is often quick to divulge quirky stories about other family members… like this one.
“Grandma what was it like when my dad was little?”
“Your dad was always business! At around Ethan’s age (my 10 year old son) he told me “I’m going to make my living with my pencil and my brain!”
I thought about talks I’ve had with another relative about dad. About how when I was a kid I thought he was the coolest guy ever. As I got older and saw dad turn into the super corporate Republican type even more so my opinion started to change.
“Your dad was never cool.” my cousin once told me.
“Your dad was always carrying around a pencil. He told me “Mom, I’m going to make a living with my pencil and my brain!””
The memory made me smile. She made me smile. She always… makes me smile. And even though it was her day, it was my day, and maybe, to a degree my dad’s day too.
Maybe my dad really always was a square and not this super cool guy I thought he was from my childhood. Maybe none of us geeks ever were. But at the same time, maybe, just maybe, we’re both.