Remembering an important investment in memories.
A story of story-time
Grandpa was experiencing the mild trauma associated with his sixty-fifth birthday. Just a few days earlier, he overheard an employee at the local optical shop refer to him as “that old guy waiting over there.” It was not shocking, nor was he insulted. After all, it was true; nevertheless, the tinge of depression prompted a discussion with grandma. Together they reminisced about the “popcorn and story-telling” sessions with their grandchildren. When the grandchildren stayed over, the four of them would sit around the kitchen table after supper with a large bowl of popcorn and take turns telling scary stories.
Grandma always told the story of the old bloody woman in the garden. Often she made minor changes to conceal the fact that there was nothing new in the plot. Sometimes she would change the names of the story’s characters always resorting to the assignment of names rhyming with or otherwise easily identified as those of the grandchildren. The grandchildren were amused when recognizing their sometimes-whimsical names and delighted when the story line revealed the familiar ‘Old bloody woman’ plot. The building suspense of the old woman climbing the stairs, though often told, was accompanied with wide-eyed body clinching leading to squeals and laughter when “Gotcha!” ended the story.
Grandpa always started his stories by saying he didn’t know any stories, he could only tell of true events; this statement added an air of credibility to some outlandish piece of scary fiction he would spin in a matter-of-fact tone. The story usually ended with the implication that a horrific peril was at hand that humankind, including the grandchildren, could escape only by chance.
At age eleven, granddaughter Paige had a rich imagination and could recite with ease fairytale-like stories that she composed on the spot. She often used enchanted objects as props to enrich the plot where the Princess got the Prince, Knight, or Rock Star and the scary villain was always crushed.
Grandson David was only six and when it was his turn he frequently had to be coaxed into telling a story. His stories commonly contained an element taken from a story told earlier. His stories were cutely disorganized, repeated “and uh” a lot, and ended only when he got tired. David was by far the best listener; he hung on every word and always asked for more.
The Grandchildren, now adults, probably will not remember the story-telling sessions with the same clarity as their grandparents. The grandparents will always treasure the comfort brought by the memories as their tenure as such approaches obsolescence and they reflect on the most pleasant moments in the story line of their lives. CP