This is story about love. Well not really at all actually.
Last night my mom received these letters in the mail. Don’t get me wrong these letters are fascinating. I love anything about history and these letters are from the 1930’s and 1940’s from my grandfather to my grandmother and vice versa. Some are during wartime, some are when they are 17 and there are even telegrams in there! We live in a time where nobody writes letters anymore so to see a group of letters bundled together with string is something that you really only see in the movies.
Each letter is about the love my grandfather has for my grandmother. Each painstakingly long letter describes in detail that is a bit to personal even for me how much he loves her and misses her and needs her.
Besides the .1 cent stamp, amazing telegrams from Western Union, the stamps from 1939 and on, the letters really don’t mean too much to me. My grandparents never loved my mom and her grandkids the way they loved each other and I could tell that made my mom really sad. They had so much love for each other that there just was no room in their hearts for love for any other blood relative (or at least a blood relative that came out of her uterus or a blood relative that came out of the uterus of the one that came out of hers).
When I received letters from my grandmother they contained quotes such as “one day you will become a respectful woman and will learn to be wise and say thank you.” I was 7 and she didn’t think I thanked her enough for the gold earrings she sent me. These continued through the years ending in college on my 18th birthday when she sent me a card and told me that even though I wasn’t a nice person, she loved me anyway. I remember ripping that one in half, crying in my dorm room, writing her back saying I don’t want anything to do with her anymore, and then keeping the card so I can one day talk about it in my blog.
My grandmother had a mother who loved her and showed it. Then in turn she didn’t show love for my mother. Then my mother showed me love. Does that mean that every other generation, one mother loves one less? Like balding and thinning hair? Does this mean I won’t love my kids enough? No of course not, but I figured I would put that in there to make you feel bad for me for a second. I would never talk to my children and grandchildren the way she talked to me. She told my mom when I was 2 that she thought I had Tourette’s Syndrome. I was 2. I probably couldn’t even say the words “fuck fuck” or “fuck you you fucking asshole” yet. I mean, I just had to google how to spell it a minute ago.
Last night I took Fred for a walk around the neighborhood I grew up in. He was great and stayed next to me the entire time without any pulling so that’s a huge win for me. Because of this I could focus less on choking my dog and pulling my arm out of my socket and really look around and notice what has been there for years.
I got to thinking about going back in time. How would my life look if I had the ability to go back to my senior year of high school, when I would walk to my friend’s houses in the neighborhood. When I knew who lived where and was always really excited when I got invited in to a guys’s house**. What if I could do it all over again and change my destiny; where I went to college, what I studied, who I dated, where I traveled, the dreams I had.
The neighborhood looks the same as I remember it yet, at the same time, everything about it has changed. The houses are the same colors, the air conditioning units still sit in the windows because nobody has updated to central air, the fences are still up but old and crumbling and the bbq grills still sit in the driveway. The difference, and it’s a big one, is that so many people who once lived there; parents and my friends from high school have moved away and a new generation of people have moved in. The bikes and old beat up Corollas once driven by teenagers have been replaced with children’s bikes, swings and the sounds of bratty little kids playing in the backyard.
The teenagers who once lived in these neighborhoods are now married parents who bought their parents house or who purchased their first home when those parents moved to Florida. An entire new generation of kids are being raised here, walking to junior high, driving to high school with big dreams of their own, turning into teenagers who smoke and eat at Denny’s at 1 in the morning after a night of sneaking around partying and losing their virginity.
How can it be that I have been away from the home I grew up in longer than when I lived there? Where are all of those friends and high school acquaintances now? Have they moved to California? Turned into doctors? Had three kids of their own? How can I remember so clearly the wallpaper in the homes and carpet in the basement when it’s been over 20 years since I’ve been in them? Who has the bedroom in the back of the house now I remember sleeping over in?
I have my own neighborhood now but I don’t think it will ever feel as home as the one I grew up in. My neighborhood looks completely different and I don’t have the connection from my past there that began the process of making me who I am today.
**I don’t really think I was invited to a guy’s house. And if I was, it was because I was in a group science project with one.
You know you do it. You pass the housekeeper’s cart in the hallway and you look around to see if anyone is looking. Then you look in the cart and tell yourself that you need 15 more bottles of cheap shampoo and conditioner and a second shower cap and quite possibly a new sewing kit. You know that the shampoo does absolutely nothing for your hair and, if anything, makes it more dry but you MUST have those extra bottles. You shove it all back into your suitcase and feel like you just got away with a scandalous crime.
There is just something so empowering about stealing things from hotels. You make the excuse “well I paid for this room so I am allowed to take more.” You don’t think of the consequences for the housekeeper. The poor thing probably has some dirty rotten boss in the basement with a comb-over and pot belly counting the items in the cart at the beginning of the day and saying things like “You are missing two bottles of Pert little lady. What are you going to do about that? How are you going to repay me?”. That is at least how I see the basements of hotels in my mind.
I feel bad but that is just not going to stop me from taking items. It never will. You never know when you are going to need a 2×2 bar of soap and a shoeshine cloth, bring them home and put them in your special lotion box and then throw out two years later when you have a mental health purge.
Kids over the age of 2 who carry a doll around with them in stores.
Laura Goldberg has decided to come back to writing because let’s face it, you all need a taste of Laura.