When I was younger, I used to go and spend two weeks of my summer with my Great-Grandma. She worked at the Old Town Temecula History Museum. Every summer they would have a “camp” there, where you learned about how early settlers here lived, how they ate, how they traveled and how they dressed. One year, they spent two days teaching us how to square dance. My Grandma had all of her “square dancing” dresses hung up, neat and orderly in her garage. She had so many beautiful dresses. She let me borrow a beautiful blue dress. It was only a little bit big on me. She was a small lady, petite.
The day we got to dance in our dresses, I woke up early and ran downstairs for breakfast. Grandma was already in the kitchen cooking my favorite breakfast; egg in a hole. I sat down and I could smell the buttery, eggy scent of the crispy toast, and the little egg in the center. She sat down next to me and she cut my breakfast for me, as I was too young to use a knife, and I watched as the sharp blade of the knife pierced the precious egg inside of its crispy barrier. The yolk oozed out all over the plate, warm and yellow it color. I swished my bite of toast around picking up all the warm egg and took my first bite of the morning. Mmmmm i thought, Grandma makes the best egg in the hole.
After breakfast was cleaned up and we were ready to start our day, I helped my grandma water all her plants in her backyard. I loved that yard. I opened the door and all sorts of bright beautiful colors surrounded me. The scents of all the many flowers drew me towards them, wanting to pluck them from their stems, and give them to Grandma as a gift, to put in her kitchen window.
Walking into the museum that day, I felt an extreme feeling of excitement for that afternoon. Grandma walked me to a camp supervisor that was standing just inside the door. Grandma went and sat down in her seat, behind the ticket counter. As we waited for all the other kids to come, I sat and watched my grandma. I watched as she fluffed up her curly grayish white hair. She moved her delicately painted, pink nails through her curls. I watched as she pulled out a little black lipstick container and a pretty little mirror out of her purse. She twisted the lipstick container, revealing the soft red shade.
The other kids arrived and we went to the second floor. We were learning about how the early settlers travelled and got necessities. Since we were only in second grade, we got to color most of our worksheets that we received during the “class”. The museum had a giant fake horse and a trunk of dress up clothes, on that second floor. I put on a yellow dress and a hat and one of the “teachers” helped me on the fake, plastic horse. She took a picture for me to show my grandma.
After the clothes and crayons were put away, we went downstairs and headed out the big front doors. Outside, they had speakers set up and a laptop on a table next to them. We got all dressed up in the dresses and shoes and we danced for an hour! The blue of my dress skirt sliced through the air as I twirled and jumped around happily. I didn’t really know the dance very well. I was just jumping and dancing around.
We went home a little while later. Grandma and I sat on her blue couch in her blue living room and she watched Jeopardy on tv and I colored in my coloring books. Her living room had pictures of my mom, my aunt, my grandma and grandpa and my cousins and everyone on one whole wall. Grandma Joyce liked hummingbirds. She had so many figurines and they all looked so fragile that you didn’t even want to breath on them in fear that they would break. Her blue carpet was rough and thin and it wasn’t the kind of carpet you would lay down and take a nap on. It was more of the kind where you would sort beads, because it was so tightly woven and so thin that you wouldn’t lose any beads in it. It was not comfortable to lay on, so I made a bed of pillows.
Sometimes I sit and remember the times that I visited Grandma Joyce. I would remember the little things about her, like how she fixed her hair or how she stared off into the distance when she drank her coffee sitting in her backyard, surrounded by her beautiful garden. I remember the warmth of her touch when she would brush my hair back, or touch my cheek when she gave me one of her big red kisses that left a smudge. I remember her voice, how it was soft and sweet in my ears. I wish I could hug her one last time. I don’t remember what the last thing I said to her was. All I remember is that, when I heard what happened, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t cry, I was so shocked. One minute she was there, happy, healthy and full of life. And then in the next, she wasn’t. I didn’t know what that do. It looked like I had shown no emotion when we said our last goodbyes to our beloved grandmother. But I was crying inside. Breaking. I didn’t know this kind of a loss. I didn’t know how to feel or what to do. This never happened before, I never experienced this before in my life. I was still young when I said one final goodbye to her. I love you to the moon and back Grandma Joyce. May you fly free with the hummingbirds that you so passionately loved. <3