I got back on Thursday afternoon from Oregon. I ended up delaying my return trip for an extra day when I found out one of my oldest friends was flying back from her 6 week trip to New Zealand on Wed evening. So as a surprise I went to the airport and hid behind a pillar until I saw her and her fiance come down to baggage claim area, I walked up behind her and stood there staring at her (with my heart beating in my throat!) until she turned around and saw me. Now she had no idea I was in Oregon, and so the last she knew I was in Vancouver. As soon as she saw me, she SCREAMED! and then burst into tears “what are you DOING here?”… of course got me teared up too and we hugged and hugged. It was one of those really perfect moments in life, when time seems to stop and love is the only feeling bursting out of your heart. I only got to spent about 45 minutes with them, (the weather was very snowy/icy in Portland, so i wanted to get home before it got too much colder)… Oh how homesick i felt leaving her!
Oregon trip was full of these kinds of joys. I spent about 4 days with my gram pouring over old photo albums- I’m sure I’ve looked through them all before, but this trip I was ready to really understand. I kept her up late for a couple nights having her tell me about all these people in the old photos. I took some photos into town and made copies (wrote names on the back so i could remind myself) and made some notes about stories she told me about people. Perhaps it’s the fact that she’s now 91… Well she had me go around the house and tell her what things I might like “someday”. It was a strange experience looking at her things in that way, trying to imagine life without her, and only objects to mark her presence in my life… Oh she is such a strong energy in the family, a woman whose health is great, still lives in her home out in the country, she drives her ‘76 Dart into town once a week for groceries and shopping, she plays a mean game of Scrabble, and when she was bit by a black widow spider a couple years ago was slowed down a little, but has recovered pretty well! Ah Gram! I hope I got her genes.
There was also about a week with my Aunt Barb. She lives out in the country, too. She’s a dear one, a relationship unlike any other in my life. I guess that’s the thing about Aunties. She’s not your mom, not your sister, not your gram, not your best friend, but a combination of all of these important women mixed up in one. She gets to be fun, honest, silly, creative, inspiring, spoils you, tells you the truth about life and stories about family (things parents might not tell you, hehehe), shows you some good recipes (over the years first time at barb’s: artichokes, tomatillos, wild rice, organic anything…). We went into her studio (she’s an artist, too) and got tons of paper/collage materials out and just had some no-nonsense FUN doing book making and collages. Erp, sorry about the mess, uncle Bob! We ate really good food (as always), and I slept a lot. Being with Barb always means coming away with a refreshed spirit. Oh and usually some fun hand-me-downs.
There was also: scavenging trips to Goodwill with my dear cousin Anna; the most perfectly lovely Hungarian Mushroom soup at Old Wives Tales; being snowed in for 2 days at Barb’s and using that as an excuse to watch hours of home improvement shows on TV; discovering a calico cat living under my gram’s house!; dinner with Dustin’s uncle and cousin at a great Italian restaurant on Mississippi (Lorenzo’s!); meeting up with some old friends I’d made when I lived with Barb back in 2000 for a summer…
So now I’m home! I’m excited to get back to work in my studio, I had some great ideas when I was down with Barb, percolating thoughts about lineage, family, history… And I have all these beautiful photos from Gram to inspire me…
Time to go to sleep and dream.