Once upon a time, there was a lady who was named for a city in Spain. She lived in a small dusty town in northern Texas, and had 6 sisters ahead of her, one below, and a brother to boot. She had small hands, and was frequently tricked into cleaning the lanterns; that is, until her family got their first light bulb and they all sat around staring at it in wonder like idiots. There was a picture of her with her sister below her in a donkey cart, and she squinted in the sun. She always seemed to be squinting a smile, and loved life like every day was her last.
When the Depression hit, she moved from the Dustbowl to the Dustbowl ("Grandma, why did you move there during the Depression?" "Because honey, it was Depression." "Ah.") and lived in a linen closet. She got a job at the Woolworth's. She was cute, and she knew it; one night she went to a party and danced. There was a young hot shot playing the piano. They got married and moved into a house that is no longer standing. They had kids, and in-laws, they did not fight in the war, they had one car, they tuned pianos and repaired ceramic statues. Their children stayed in town, but one, who went to college, and then left town. The children went to school, rough-housed with the neighbours, drag-raced cars and worked at drive-ups and pizza joints. The lady named for a city in Spain suffered some, but smiled and laughed mostly. The children had children, some of which also had children. They all gathered together for one holiday a year, and the children of the children played on the garage, pretending to shoot down planes, working in the woodshop, and they all danced and laughed.
Never been sick, never had a headache. (well, you have one now!)
I trust you...like I trust a rattlesnake.
Look at that lady...
(she tried to get up and go home. we had to strap her down. she should be moved to a care facility.)
Now, who are you again? Which one is Carolyn, the one with the flute? *flute noises*
When do I get to go home? Where is Dad? Where is William? (He's coming later.)
I had six sisters ahead of me, and they used to make me clean the lanterns.
Want something to drink? Don't know where mom is, got pop on ice.
Prince Albert in a can.
William! You old tomato!
Which one is Carolyn, the one with the flute?
I had six sisters ahead of me!
You learning the Dutch? I'm still working on English! What do you study at the university, boys?
O, honey, I was cute.
Pretended not to know what it meant, to park. I can't see the lights of the city facing thataway.
Where am I? Can I go home now?
One day she didn't seem to care about going home anymore. She asked where William was, and he was there. So was Tommy. She looked out at something no one else could see and her eyes were clouded over. She closed her eyes.
The funeral was a week later.
We stood over her, crying softly, trying to speak.
"Do you know what she'd say to us, if she opened her eyes right now and saw us standing here, crying?"
"You better knock it off, or I'll beat your a**!!!!"
We started snickering. Then we laughed. We laughed a lot and tears welled up in our eyes. We laid her to rest. She was cremated. The lady who was named for a city in Spain is ash, in an urn with William.
October 31st/November 1st, 1999, I had a dream. And suddenly she appeared, more life-like than ever. She looked around. "What are you doing here?"
"I decided to take a walk. I wanted to see how you all are."
She takes a walk every 1st of November. She says, "You only go around once!" The lady who was named for a city in Spain says, "You only go around once!"
She goes with me, the lady named for a city in Spain. I am making it good, just like I always said I would.
November 1st, 2007.