Day 31: A vivid memory
Today is the last day of the Blog Everyday in May challenge. It also happens to be the last day of May. What a coincidence. I'm sure you've noticed I haven't been the best at blogging every.single.day this month but I do think the challenge served it's purpose nonetheless. I've found joy in blogging again rather than just viewing it as another necessary task. I've created an editorial calendar to help me stay on track and come up with fresh content for all of us. I'm also in the process of a major overhaul on the blog to reflect the change in direction Big Mario Life has taken over the last year. And there may or may not be a name change involved too! Who knew Jenni's little challenge could bring about such changes! I'm excited about all of it and can't wait to share more with you as things progress.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
For this final challenge, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a special memory of my Grandma Mamie with you today. She was very influential in my life and, even though she left us for her next great adventure nearly 20 years ago, I still think about her almost everyday. Words alone may not do her justice so here's are some photos to set the scene.
|Grandma Mamie (middle) and two of her sisters.|
|50+ years later, still posing for the camera and rocking the red lips and rouged cheeks. PS - that's me in the other striped outfit and choppy bangs.|
I awoke that day with the excitement typical of a school day. As a child, I actually dreaded the weekends and preferred the weekdays. The distractions school brought were a welcome escape from daily home life. I expected that Tuesday to be just like any other -why wouldn't it be?- until I was called into my grandma's bedroom.
She was dressed in what she considered to be a respectable, professional ensemble. Her bright polyester floral dress and slightly garish make-up that morning left a comedic yet cherished image of her branded in my memory. She quickly informed me that I would not be going to school that day and would, instead, be her "driver." I had been her driver before, ever since I was tall enough to reach the handles on her wheelchair. But that was usually for doctor's appointments, which did not hold the same potential for fun as a day at school. She insisted this one would be incomparable and kept our final destination a secret.
I dressed with the speed and focus of a kid on a mission and met her on the porch to wait for our ride. This was the beginning of our little adventure for the day and my mind was racing, trying to guess our possible destination. When we arrived at the mysterious location, however, I felt my excitement deflate. I had wished for the zoo, or even the mall, but what I got was an old musty theatre used only for the smallest of touring shows. It crossed my mind that maybe I was there to see my very first play, but that hope was quickly dashed when I realized that, instead of scenery, there were oddly-shaped little booths set up on the stage, each just large enough for one person at a time to stand behind, and there were no other audience members. Just the two of us and a few other ladies. I smiled through the disappointment as best I could and wheeled her down the aisle of the old building.
I sat quietly beside her for what felt like an eternity while she organized various stacks of brightly colored papers full of words my third-grade mind could read but not comprehend. After a while, people began filing in and forming a line in front of us. My curiosity was piqued. One by one, the people approached Grandma and received a little packet of brightly colored papers of their very own and directions as to which booth to occupy. I finally found the courage to ask what was happening when we took our lunch break. What were we there for? Why did all these people keep showing up for papers and their time at the booth? "It's Election Day," she said. "We're helping people vote."
Despite being well into her 80s and bound to a wheelchair as a result of two broken hips late in life, Grandma still felt it was her civic duty to register Democrats and work the election polls whenever she could. Last summer, I couldn't resist volunteering to be an election worker for the California primaries. And when I went to the election office in City Hall to sign up, that little memory from so long ago was at the forefront of my mind.