As a child my life was far from normal. My mother decided it was not in her best interest to keep me and so I was left with my maternal grandparents. While she kept my brother who is a year and a half older than me and my younger sisters I did not seem to fit into her life somehow.
There was alot of instability in my childhood and even less love and the sense of belonging. My grandparents raised me the best they could. I was raised with an aunt who is three years older than me while I love my aunt and my grandparents the reality is I was just a grandchild. My grandmother was, well….the head of the household (probably why I took that role in my family). My grandfather was the quieter one, the sweeter one. He took the time to play with us (my aunt and I that is).
At one point at around 9 years old my mother wanted me back with her and my grandfather also moved in. It only lasted about two years before we were back with my grandmother but those years really bonded us. We would pick oranges and grapefruit’s from the trees in the back yard and make fresh squeezed juice. I was his cooking assistant when he made stews and all my favorite cuban dishes. My grandfather was a butcher in Cuba and to this day I can say there is no one that could cook like him. He loved Tom & Jerry cartoons and Western movies. He would invite me to watch movies with him like Gone with the Wind and although I did not understand them most of the time I would. He would make up a bed for me on the couch and sit in his chair with his glass of water, TV guide, glasses and flash light without fail. He taught me to dance which is probably why I love spanish music so much.
There are so many memories I have with him that make me smile. Actually, whenever I think of him it makes me smile. My grandfather passed at 72 years old in December 2000 after a long seven-year battle with emphysema and ultimately stomach cancer.
My most treasured memory of him was our walks to the 7-11 quick stop. My grandfather would walk the 1/2 mile to get his six-pack of beer in the evening and he almost always brought me along. There was a lake behind the store so after he purchased his treat and my treat (long jolly ranchers) we would sit by the lake and he would watch me feed the fish with the slices of bread he always brought along. I remember the sun setting and listening to him talk. He was a happy person although not always treated well by the family. He loved trivia, to watch documentaries and would always start out with the line “do you know what the largest animal in the world is?”. My husband always starts with this line when we talk about my grandfather, from his own memory of my grandfather.
My grandfather was kind to me when no one else was. He loved me as his daughter and to the end of his life made sure I was aware of it. His memory brings happiness and even in those moments where I feel sad when I am missing him all I have to do is remember and through the sadness there is happiness.
My grandfather Pedro Perez the keeper of my favorite childhood memory. Abuelo, I love you always and forever!
Prompt #2..What one memory from your childhood always makes you smile, no matter what? (inspired by Not Just Another Mom Blogger)Every week you’re invited to join Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop by responding to one of the provided prompts posted each Tuesday. To view more detailed instructions on how this weekly meme works, check out the Writer’s Workshop FAQs.