Monday, August 02, 2004

Guess where they landed

I don't know if it's specifically something about me or my generation in general, but I've always seemed to have a hard time dealing with the elderly. It's not that I feel entirely uncomfortable around senior citizens, I think it's the fact that I don't like the thought of me ever being in the position that they are; getting old.

My grandmother, on my mother's side, lived in a nice house in East Northport, New York. It's a small town out on Long Island, a few hours away from New York City. My grandfather, her husband passed away shortly after I was born. There is a picture of him holding me when I was just an infant, and as far as memories go of a person that I've never met, it's a pretty good one.

I only met Lillian 4 or 5 times before she passed away and there aren't really a great deal of good memories from my times being there, that I can recall. Since she lived so far away from us, it wasn't like we could just pack up the car for a weekend and go and visit Grandma. It was a painfully long drive that forced my mother, my two sisters, and myself to coop ourselves up in the family grocery-getter and trek halfway across the country. If your family was anything like mine, you'd know that if you put three children in a car together for more than 30 minutes, you're begging for trouble.

The first trip, that I can recall, that took us out to New York was when we moved there during the summer of 1983. For reasons that I've never bothered to ask my mother about, she had decided that she had had enough of Wisconsin and decided to try to move back to New York so that she could be around her family. Things were pretty tight for us financially speaking, as well as in a car sense (A Chevy Nova and 4 people doesn't make for a great cross country trip,) so we moved in with her mother.

Being eight years old, at the time, it was difficult to have to deal with the issues that have to go along with living with your grandmother. If I haven't said it before, my brain is a very bizarre storage device. The things that I remember usually have absolutely no bearing on how good or bad something was at that particular time.

Here's a case in point. What is the thing that I remember most about my Grandmother's house? Toilet paper, specifically the type that she had. I'm sure that seems like an odd thing to remember for most of you, but it will become very clear shortly.

Two other members of my mother's extended family lived in close proximity to my Grandma in East Northport. Aunt Honey and Aunt Tootsie. I'm not really sure these were their actual names, as these were the names that I was told to call them, so I just went with it. The two of them lived together in a house just down the road from my Grandmother, so it wasn't a long trip to go and visit the two of them while we were living there.

One day I went to their home and the three of us spent an afternoon outside picking from their blackberry bushes. As I recall there were quite a few bushes, and before too long I had an entire coffee can full of the sweet dark purple berries. For some reason that I will never fully understand, as it seems like only an eight year old could make a decision such as this one, I thought it would be a good idea to eat a handful of berries, then another, and another. Before too long, I had consumed an entire Hills Brothers coffee can of blackberries.

I don't know much about human physiology, but I do believe that that coffee can was larger than my actual stomach. Not that it much mattered how much of it would actually stay there.

Once I got back home that evening, I became acquainted with a certain member of the house. We became rather intimate friends rather quickly. My new, and ever so close friend, was the family toilet.

One thing that I didn't know when I was eight years old, was the fact that if you eat enough blackberries they take on a certain laxative quality. I'll save you the remaining details of that fateful day, but I will let you know how that day shaped my life. Once that day was complete, and my digestive tract had returned to it's normally scheduled programing, I vowed one thing to myself.

I would never ever purchase that pathetic, sorry, sandpaper-like, one square at a time, excuse for toilet paper that my grandmother had on the shelf. I don't think my ass has ever forgiven me for that day and who can blame it.


Post a Comment

<< Home