My grandfather, aka Papa, told me recently that he and my grandmother were moving. They have lived in Marin County, California for as long as I can remember. In their home, memories live. Will the memories follow, or do they stay and merge with new families with all their laughter and tears?
To get ready for the move, they have been cleaning and clearing and passing down items. When I heard of all this shifting, I called Papa and asked him for his collection of novels and books. As a little girl, I used to go into their office and stare at the rows and rows of books, touching their edges, inhaling their worlds. There are two long desks running along perpendicular walls so that two of the four walls were hugging long tables. On the tables are computers, one for each, so that they may work alongside each other simultaneously working on different projects. Above the desks are shelves with old pictures and new ones. There are pictures of their five children growing up, and the sixteen grandchildren which I am one of.
On the adjoining walls are degrees, cast in gold trim, holding knowledge and work ethic. One a degree from UC Berkeley, another a degree from Chicago Medical School, along with two Master's degrees in Fine Art and Marriage and Family Counseling. Along these, there are pictures from the Navy, Papa young and bold with a group of men in front of a plane.
And, of course, along those walls are also the shelves that held countless books. Some Papa had bought or received as gifts, and some were Grandma Joyce's collected through the years. Somehow those rows of books represented more to me than pages and print. They are living testimonies of a better life; they represent the human desire for something greater and the possibility that I could achieve that.
So, I sit here now writing to you, asking you to come on a journey with me. A journey unique to me, but not altogether different than your own. I will be reading these books, one by one, except maybe Chess For Dummies, but you never know. Who writes a title with the word "dummy" on it anyway? I will be commenting on them as I read, writing about how the books relate to my life as a thirty year old mother and wife, and also what it may have said about Papa and his life and journeys along side my forever kind Grandma Joyce.