My last remaining grandparent passed away back in February. This was my grandma aka “mahmah”, my dad’s mom. I saw her pretty much every single day from the time I was born until I moved out of my parents house at age 21.
Some people aren’t close to their grandparents and some people are very good friends with their grandparents. I can’t really say that we fell into either category. My grandma didn’t speak English and I only speak a limited amount of Cantonese so it’s not like we had very meaningful conversations. She wasn’t like my mom and dad who would praise or punish me. She was just there, always, and ready to give. Mostly, she would give food.
Grandma didn’t make traditional chow mein or artfully steamed fish, well she did but that wasn’t what I liked about her cooking, she would make dishes like ground pork and shrimp omelets! Salty wontons in soup! “Spanish” rice with cut up hot dogs! Curry! Battered and fried stuffed eggplant!
These are the familiar, possibly provincial, possibly just resourceful, dishes that I grew up eating and this is today my “comfort food”. Of course, nobody knows how to make this stuff in the family, nobody wanted to learn I guess. All the dishes were just so weird and so very “grandma” I’m sure no one ever though “Oh yes, this will be a good dish to share… with people.” No, it was just dinner, good old weird dinner dishes.
Sometimes I remember that she won’t be cooking for me anymore and that thought is enough to bring me to tears. It’s not that I only miss by grandmother for her cooking, it’s just that grandma and food go hand in hand and it very much the core of the grandma experience. I miss pretty much everything about her sometimes and it feels like this void that can never be filled again.
While listening to NPR this weekend I heard some talk from a show (or segment?) called StoryCorps (which originally I thought was spelled Storycore and I thought “hardcore stories… these stories are intense”). StoryCorps was encouraging listeners to particiapte in an event called National Day of Listening. What happens is, the day after Thanksgiving you’re supposed to interview a family member, or friend, just anyone you know. You listen to them, listen to the story they have to tell, about anything. You just interview them and ask them to share a part of their life and memory with you.
I think I want to do this. I know my parents, aunts, uncles and grandma all have stories to tell. They have experiences that I won’t ever get to have, or would ever want to have really. I should get some of these stories from them while I still can.
Anyway, I encourage you to do the same. I might post some of these after I edit them. Maybe, we’ll see how it goes.
National Day of Listening
Yesterday I spent some time thinking about “the past.”
For some reason the past always seems to be filled with more fondness than the present. It doesn’t matter which past it is. My theory is that because years are condensed into a small portion of my memory I only have room for things I want to remember and those are either pure fun or pure sadness. Things happening now are spread out over a longer period of time… I guess it’s like defragmenting your computer. There are huge gaps between the important information in the present so it takes awhile to recall the good times. When the memory has been defragmented the memories are more concentrated in the area they are given. There is a higher joy/pain to space ratio.
I always seem to want to go back to “the past.” I want to revisit those feelings. I want physically be in the memories I hold in my mind. I try to do that but as we all know, “you can never go back.” And I know this. I know it will never be the same again, but I think I’d still like to try and create some new memories while I’m at it.
more after the jump
For the past four (almost five) years I’ve kept an online journal elsewhere. Every now and then I like to go back and read the entries. It’s a pretty good time line and some times it’s fun to look back. I usually find myself pretty amusing and wonder why I’m no longer as funny or witty. Of course, now I’m wondering if I’ll look back at this entry and think the same thing.
I’ve decided that I’m going to periodically copy and paste entries from that blog to this one. Just to make sure there’s a backup copy somewhere. The ramblings of 20 year old me can be very entertaining and sometimes enlightening.
Now, I’ve kept personal handwritten journals ever since I learned how to write, but I’ll probably never go and consolidate these into one large volume or even transcribe them into electronic form. Mostly this is because it’s extremely time consuming but also because I’m sure most of it is mundane. Although, there are probably a few pivotal moments in my life of which I’d probably like some kind of personal recollection.
Let’s start with this one that was dated December 1, 2004 @ 8:50 A.M. I’m choosing this one because I feel like this is where I started. This is around the time I started making decisions and learning about things the hard way. Continue reading “Memories Long Since Past”
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has this weird affect on me. It makes me feel nostalgic and think back on the days when I was young. It reminds me of the cool tile of my parent’s master bathroom. It makes me think of lazy Saturdays.
Or family vacations, like the one we took to Hawaii when I was too young to remember anything except buying one of those pearl oysters from the sidewalk stands. I had the pearl put onto a whale’s tale necklace for good luck. I remember being really sad when I lost it in the shower. I think it went down the drain. Just the pearl, not the whole necklace.
The strange thing is that I can’t remember why Rhapsody in Blue would evoke these memories. I really like the feeling it brings, which may be why I’ve had it stuck in my head for the past week. It’s just…odd.
I know they have airline commercials featuring this song nowadays. Did they used to? Can anyone remember if Delta used it? My mom and I used to fly Delta all the time. I was in the airline kids club. I’d get the newsletter from Dusty the aviator Lion. I had special meals when I flew. I got the little Delta wings pin.
It’s a good feeling. I sound like rain man. Yeah, I like it. Good feeling. It’s good.