Jul 29

Stories and Laughing

I grew up with stories and I grew up with laughter.Photo 65

Imagine a girl with spindly legs and short hair with a tooth or two missing, some freckles on her nose, and round hazel eyes. She’s smashed in between her MomMom who everyone refers to as “Owly,” her Aunt Ponce whose real name everyone has mostly forgotten, and the rest of her aunts and uncles. Us kids (probably six of us) sit down and we’re quiet for the most part. Not because we were made to be, not because it was what we were supposed to do. But because we wanted to be.

We wanted to listen. And each of us knew that at any moment the stories and laughing would begin.

Remember?

Remember how the whole family was out on Halloween corning cars (yes, MomMom was there watching) when a lady stopped the car and got out. Remember how everyone hid in the house as the irate woman pounded on the door, “Come out! I know you’re in there!”

Remember when Gretchen sent letters and postcards to a person she found in the phone book, and wasn’t it strange that their name was unlisted after a year.

How about Mrs. Cooper, the old lady who would babysit all six kids. She’d heat up her slippers in the oven and declare that her food was always “better than mothers.”

Remember how Aunt Ponce was named “Best Party Giver” in the High School yearbook and how surprised MomMom was to see it?

What about all the nicknames? Ants, Crunch, Bainz, Ponce, Owly, Limba Loda, Shamby Shine, Slick-Slack.

Only the family knows what it is to be “dumbed up,” the words to the “fat guy” song, and who Mrs. Kingy and Cookie were.

And we kids would sit and listen and laugh right along with the adults. And the stories and the laughing stuck with each of us.

That’s what I remember most about that time of my childhood, about all the times at my MomMom and PopPop’s house on Grubbs Road: laughter and stories.

But mostly the laughing.

And that is what I hope and wish for as I look at my own kids, my husband, my family, my friends, the memories we are creating every day.

I hope that when I am old or when I leave this place forever, that those closest to my heart won’t remember the times I got angry or frustrated, they won’t remember my mistakes or my misfortunes.

But they will always remember me laughing.

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