life

Family Threads

I interviewed my grandma in 1991 during one of her last visits up from Florida. She was 91.

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Here she is at 101. This time I was visiting her.

I wanted to record as much family history as she could remember so one evening, after my 1 year old was tucked in bed, I made us each a cup of tea and got out my notepad.

For the next hour I coaxed as much info out of her as her stamina and memory would allow.  So much tender, loving effort on her part, and mine, and I no longer have the notes. I’ve forgotten the names and the dates and the places, but a few of her stories made a permanent impression.

One such story came to mind this morning as I was folding freshly laundered sheets and blankets – wet in the night by my elderly – and, I fear, newly incontinent dog, Max.

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My sweet white-faced boy.

Standing in my kitchen – now doubling as a dog hospital – folding bedding, I thought of Christian Attridge and his wife, wish I could remember her name. I’ll call her Anna.

When Christian was courting Anna he led her to believe he was a veterinarian.  He wasn’t, he was a vet tech.

After they were married and she learned the truth, she exclaimed, “Oh no you don’t! You told me you were a veterinarian and you are GOING to be a veterinarian!”

So he went back to school.

Apparently strong women run in my family.

And so does taking care of sick animals. Though I think horses were my great grandpa’s specialty.

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#justfortherecord

 

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Michigan

Pea Green & Still

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My mom said the air suddenly became very still that humid June evening as she stood at the kitchen window washing the dinner dishes. The air became still and the sky turned green, like pea soup.

In that split second she heard what sounded like a freight train barrelling through as she watched my dad throw grandma to the ground, laying on top of her until the storm passed.

There were downed trees and power lines everywhere in the aftermath, blocking the roads, making my dad’s search for grandpa difficult. Making the trip to the hospital difficult.

The tornado carried grandpa a mile and then just dropped him.

116 people died. Grandpa walked with a limp.

Now, when the sirens go off, I look for the stillness. I look for that pea green sky. I listen for that freight train. And I stay close to the basement.

You can read more about that epic, historic, F5 storm here.

And speaking of tornadoes: Let Go of the Dang Door!

#1953Flinttornado

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