I've been phoning my Buby (my maternal grandmother) more often since my Zaidy died. Her short-term memory is a bit random, but she's still plenty lucid enough to carry on a conversation. I tell her stories about what I've been up to lately, and because she's always been a bit agoraphobic it doesn't take much to impress and entertain her. She's never owned a cordless phone or an electric typewriter. There has never been a microwave oven or a CD player in her home. Computers mystify her completely.
I've decided that I need to encourage her to tell me stories about her past. I'd like to learn as much of her history as I can before it's too late. During our last phone call, I found out that when my Zaidy's parents (my great-grandparents) were alive, they always had a dog in the house. Whenever one dog died, they'd get a new dog. All the dogs were named John.
I thought that was a pretty good story.
Buby used to look after me when I was very small, when my mom was a single mom. If I had a stomach-ache or a cold and couldn't go to daycare or kindergarten, my mom would drop me off at Buby's house. Buby would entertain me with her collection of Superballs, which she kept in a kitchen drawer. She had them in different sizes and colours. My favourite was a clear one filled with sparkly rainbow flecks. We also used to play a Jewish card game called Pisha Payshe.
Whenever I see my Buby, there's a very good chance that she'll tell the story of The Night She Lost Me. I've heard that story many times recently. It goes like this:
"You were sleeping over at our house. You were only 4 or 5 years old. I put you to bed and tucked you in. Later I went to look in on you, and you weren't in the bed. I thought you must have gone to the washroom, but when I went down the hall to check you weren't there. I started to get worried. I told your Zaidy 'I can't find Spark!' We looked all over the house for you. You weren't anywhere to be found. We got very worried. But the doors were locked so there was no way you could have gotten out of the house. Finally I went back into Auntie N's old room where I had put you to sleep, and I noticed a little foot sticking out from under the bed. I looked down, and there you were, under the bed, fast asleep. We picked you up very carefully, and put you back into bed, and tucked you in, and you never even woke up."
I can't imagine sleeping through the experience of falling out of bed onto a hardwood floor, but there you have it. That's a pretty good story too.