Window of Wonder
I keep Grandma down in the basement, where she will forever remain. No, it’s not like that. I’m not a psycho, abuser, corpse collector. No, what I mean is her essence, her wisdom. Every weekend from as far back as I can remember we’d come over to Grandma’s house, and with every visit she’d take me on down there to the bottom of the house, to the ‘window of wonder’, as she would call it.
It was from here where she would gaze out and tell her stories. Everything from fairy tales she had committed to memory to her own personal journey through life, always over a mug of hot chocolate, always leaving me enthralled and a want for more.
By the time I reached high school she needed my assisting shoulder to brace herself when we descended those creaky old steps, often telling me on the way down a piece of the old house’s one hundred and fifty year history. By the end of my last year of college I started carrying her down in my arms, with her joking that I was now her Prince Charming, not only for having literally swept her off her feet but also due to the fact that I was leaving school with a Masters in Creative Writing.
“Seems like only yesterday when I was the one carrying you on down here to our window of wonder. Oh how you’d marvel over the view as the wind tickled the grass and trees while I’d read you Charlotte’s Web, Willy Wonka, Freddie the Leaf.
“Remember getting in trouble with your folks for that one. Took you a long time before you could look at a fallen leaf and not cry, but it was a good teacher for you, was it not?”
Yes grandma, empathy is one of the most powerful tools we have as storytellers, I now understood.
Even on that last day, over that last mug of hot chocolate she had insisted on going on down to our window of wonder, our roles now reversed as I cradled her close, once again telling her the story of how I had landed my agent, sold my first book, signed my first contract.
How thrilled she had been to receive the first copy, those tears of joy falling down upon it when she had discovered the dedication page and her name right there in black ink.
A story she never tired of hearing, face as captivated as a child, soul as tickled as the prairie she looked out upon.
It was during this state of wonder, of peace when she closed her eyes for the last time, took her last breath and brought to an end this storybook life that made me into the man, the storyteller I am today.
I will never sell this house of inheritance and the rich history it continues to collect, never remove her mug from our window of wonder, never forget the priceless gift she has given me.
And thus Grandma will forever remain .
Written for the Writer’s Unite blog page.
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