On the Small Pleasure Project: The Blue Vase Rumination
In which The Gay Recluse remembers his grandparents.
Of our four grandparents, the only one we knew at all was our grandmother.
And even she died when we were very young.
Our evil uncle stole almost everything she owned, but our father managed to keep a few things, including this blue vase, which he in turn gave to us.
Sometimes we wonder about her life, and wish that we knew more.
She was raised in an orphanage in Quebec, but somehow made it to Boston, where she met our grandfather. He was not an educated man but worked his way from the mail-room to an executive position in a pretty big corporation; this of course was a long time ago, before the United States became an aristocracy!
Less heroically, he was an alcoholic and a gambler and a womanizer.
And a racist and an anti-Semite! (In short, a McCain Nixon supporter.)
We can remember him swearing at the television during the Watergate trials. By then he was an old man, hacking and wheezing.
There was much speculation that our grandmother was happy when he finally died. (It’s safe to say that not many tears were shed at his funeral.)
But as so often happens, our grandmother was also an alcoholic by that point. And a racist and an anti-Semite. It was as if he had rubbed off on her after so many years of marriage.
Yet she was not such a horrible person — or so we like to believe — at least compared to her husband. She had closets filled with fabulous dresses going all the way back to the twenties! She spoke French to the waiters in Miami. She had the most wonderful pillows strewn everywhere in her Ft. Lauderdale house. She collected blue glass. And she loved chameleons!
All that’s left of her now — at least for us — is this blue vase.
As the sun streams though, it seems to cleanse her of her most serious flaws. We imagine a poor girl arriving in Boston, with little choice but to latch on to the brutish yet charismatic man who was our grandfather. Today it might have happened differently; there’s no reason to think she ever really wanted to get married or have children.
As time passes, we remember the mysterious qualities of her life, and think of her as filled with a sense of longing and sadness that — like her blue vase — was somehow passed to us.
Filed under: Addiction, Animals, History, Longing, Memory, Small Pleasure Project, Stereotypes | 2 Comments
Tags: Blue Vase, Chameleons, Drunks, Ft. Lauderdale, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, McCain, Nixon, Republican Assholes