I was walking down main street in our little town last week, towards the post office (the new post office – the old post office is a restaurant now, but a beautiful heritage building). My grandparents lived in this town for years when I was younger, I can’t remember exactly when – they moved around a bit.
They left here when my Gramps broke his leg, and moved closer to us in the city. But they were certainly out here for a few years when I was not quite a teenager, and before my cousins moved away, and then for a while after. They were living out here when I learned to drive – when Gramps taught me how to drive.
This is quite near where my Gramps grew up, which also happens to be where my grandparents met, because Tutu was visiting family nearby – because, as I have discovered, her mother’s family was mostly from around here too.
I was walking down the street, heading to the bookstore, just ahead of the post office and I pictured my Gramps, going to get his mail. It was something he often did, and I think he enjoyed it. Tutu did too. The post office was a place you went to see people. They often ran into Gramps’ brother there – the one who lived in this town before the rest of us. (On that side of my family).
I think there was an older gentleman walking towards the door or across the street who caught my eye and caused me specifically to think of him.
I pictured him walking up the path to the post office and I remembered his limp. He had a degenerative disease, genetic, that caused some issue with his bones and resulted in one leg being shorter than the other.
I had forgotten it.
After spending so much time over so many years with this man who I loved so dearly, I had forgotten his walk. It was always there, eventually needing a cane – which he made himself – and then a wheelchair when we moved him anywhere for the last year or more.
It made me so sad the realize that this piece of him that was so very much a part of him had just faded. And scared to think what else had faded from my memory over the years. What else will I forget?
I already know that when my Tutu got Alzheimer’s it almost seemed to affect all my good memories of her too. I was a teenager and so angry about all of it that there just doesn’t seem to be much I can call up. I don’t have any of her recipes and few of her things.
But every now and again something that I have totally forgotten – like the time I jumped off the 3m board at Brewer pool, hit the water wrong and ended up on a stretcher in the lifeguard’s office – just flashes back into my brain, having been lost for years.
Like walking up the street and seeing someone who reminds me of my Gramps.