I tend to go to one of my happier memories from my childhood when I am looking for a way to escape or be at peace. Whenever I was with my grandparents, I was the happiest, and my sister can say the same for herself. It was home to me. I feel comfortable speaking on my sister’s behalf when I say our mother’s house was just a home away from home.
One of the most relaxing moments for me was when I used to comb my grandfather’s hair while he sat in his chair, and he would listen to the radio. He and my grandmother slept in separate rooms, why, I don’t know. They got married at 17/18 years of age, so I guess they needed their own space, but to be honest, my grandfather smoked cigarettes, so that could be the real reason. Who knows, I never bothered to ask. Here we are in his room, second room on the right, him in his chair, me combing his hair, and the antique radio going. I still wish I had that radio. It was brown and had an arc-type shape to it. He would listen to old-timey music or the game; whatever game was going on.
The chair he sat in was hideous; it really was. It was like this plaid, stitch, fabric-y type of chair, with red, gold, brown, and green colors. I mean, it was ugly, but it was comfortable as hell. I would use a small, black, fine-toothed comb for his hair. He had smooth, silky hair, almost like he permed it, but he didn’t. He comes from a mixed bloodline, and I, to this day, want hair like his. He would be sitting back with his eyes closed, teeth out, glasses on while I combed, and scratched his head. It was our bonding time, and I cherished every moment.
I got to know his past and his history during those times. About his brother and my great-grandparents, all of whom I have never met. My grandfather didn’t talk a lot, so when he did, I soaked it all up. Sometimes, he is sitting in his chair, and I would be on the bed, and he would take a crab apple, cut it in half, and we would get some salt, dip it, and eat it in each other’s company. I would give my last dime to have those moments back again.
There is a lot about my grandfather that I don’t know. My mother tried to shed light on it after he died when I got old enough to understand. He got outside kids; he was an alcoholic (addiction runs in my family) and a mean one at that. I told her I don’t condone what he did or who he was then, but that is not the man that I know, and I won’t allow you to taint that image I have of him. That’s not who I know, that’s not what I saw, so I choose to keep living with the version of him I got while he was alive during my time.
That’s where I go when I want peace or when I need a mental reboot. This journal idea came from the book “List Your Self: Listmaking As The Way To Self-Discovery” by Illene Segalove and Paul Bob Velick. I would add a link, but the book’s out of stock.