Tell me, Mimi
June 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
This weekend, I had the pleasure of spending 3 days with my grandmother, Mimi. We spent the weekend sitting in the living room, eating lemon merengue pie for breakfast, having Coke floats with lunch and watching old films on Turner Classic Movies.
She commented on how it must have been a boring weekend for me, but I never thought I’d enjoy old movies so much! The stories, the dancing, the beautifully clean and innocent love scenes… these films have a depth that we just can’t recreate in studio blockbusters these days. What made them even more enjoyable was Mimi’s occasional commentary.
“Did I ever tell you that this was the first play I went to see on Broadway with my ladies club?” she asked me during The Bad Seed. Mimi and her friends used to take bus trips up to New York for Broadway shows. Mimi talks about these trips often with me, knowing how much I miss living in New York and how much I get a kick out of hearing what a trip to NYC and a ticket on Broadway cost in her day vs. mine.
We watched Daddy Long Legs and something about Fred Astaire reminded her of Grampi and what a great man he was. He was. I told her that Grampi ruined it for the rest of us girls because no man could live up to what an extraordinary man Grampi was. I told Mimi she got the best one and that was it. She told me again the story of Grampi and his brother getting dropped off at Girard College when they were very young and how Grampi’s little brother was crying so Grampi couldn’t cry because he, at 8 years old, had to be strong for his brother. Fred Astaire sang in the background and it reminded me of Grampi singing.
When she asked me if she’s ever told me how she and Grampi met, for a moment, my brain formed the word “yes.” But I didn’t say it. It’s a story I’ve heard over and over. I’ve written poems about it. I get goosebumps when I tell it. I couldn’t say yes because another part of my brain stopped me. There will come a day when I’ll never get to hear that beautiful story again. There will come a day when Mimi’s voice will be a memory that lives in my head. And I realized that no matter how many times I’ve heard that or any of her other stories, the only response when Mimi asks, “Did I ever tell you…” is always, “Tell me, Mimi.”