Earlier this week, I lounged on the sofa with a crackly plastic wrapped novel from the library, feet propped on the footstool, glass of iced tea to hand. My reading glasses were propped on the end of my nose. With my right hand I played the page turning game: flip flip flip past the corner of each page yet to be read – can I flip through all of the pages before I finish reading the page I am on? It is an annoying, compulsive habit I’ve had as long as I remember.
On my lap sat a bowl of popcorn. On the floor next to me a started but recently abandoned knitting project. The few completed rows of my new sweater looked good nestled next to the big ball of yarn in the bowl.
Then I had déjà vu. Except it wasn’t déjà vu, it was memory, long-buried, unsought. I had been a part this scene before and not because I spend part of every day lounging and reading. I stopped my page flipping, my popcorn munching and held myself completely still while I waited for it to bubble up.
It was Grandma Funk. The hairs on the back of my neck felt all tingly. I was Grandma Funk or at least acting an awful lot like her. I remember her letting me iron the sheets and her silk scarves while she lounged on the bed in her room, reading. I played on the rug on the floor near her while she sat reading on the loveseat in the TV room. I remember Grandma flip-flip-flipping the pages of her book with one finger, eating a snack, reading with a lumpy half-knitted thing abandoned nearby.
I realized I was wearing her jewelry, a solid silver cuff etched with wildflowers I haven’t taken off for 15 years or more. I was wearing one of her silk scarves. When the scarves came to me after she died, they still smelled of her Emeraude perfume. I didn’t wash them for years, left them in the box they were packed in so I could sniff my childhood every now and again.
Grandma Funk died when I was a kid, maybe I was 10 years old. I didn’t know her really at all. Now that I am turning into her, now that I have worn her jewelry and scarves for decades, I sort of wonder if we would have been friends. We might have had things to talk about. We might have had adventures that were more exciting than trips to the park where she read while I chased and was chased by the giant geese. Although that did raise my kiddie heart rate a bit.
I think I am turning into my Grandma Funk. I’m sort of ok with it.