Mama Kat’s writing workshop is a fun way to meet other bloggers and fine tune your writing skills with topics that get your mind to working in over drive. This week I picked the one to talk about my Memaw.. Opal Stanfield.
She would be the woman in the center of the 2 couples. I have other pictures of her but right now I am not up to searching through my 10000+ photos. But I can tell you she was a firecracker. As a young girl I can remember her ‘spells’. Memaw had heart flutters that they would give her shots for, basically back then it was simply a muscle relaxer that would send her into loopy land. While Memaw was a character without the shots, with them life became even more interesting. She would either be knocked so hard she would lay on the couch and chase birds or animals no one else could see, OR she would decide she was capable of doing anything.
Like riding my older sister’s bike, back when the rims were big and the tires were thin. In a dress. They helped her but she still managed to warp the rims. Dancing in the yard with my sister and my cousin, the whole time telling them she didn’t need help. My personal favorite though involves a man I still know to this day. He used to own a local gas station, garage/ restaurant right next to where my Memaw lived. When my mom and aunt would take her to the doctor for her spells he would always check on her when we came back. It was at this time my Memaw would come up with some job for her and him to do to make some extra money. This time she whispered, ” I found us a job”, His reply was “What is that Opal?”.. “Down by the pond they will pay us .50 a piece for jacking off bullfrogs.” We rolled. Till tears came from our eyes. His response, ” Yeah I have job I think I will pass”.
The best part is that is something she would have said even without the meds, had the situation presented itself. She was a joker from the moment you met her, and if she didn’t joke with you, lay low. I can remember when we moved to Virginia she and mom would write letters to each other , it seemed like every other day. Then, Memaw had a stroke. Mom was in Virginia, memaw was in Kentucky. It affected mainly her left side but it also affected her ability to write and read. The doctors said it would take time, the memories were there, just getting them to remind her of what to do. Mom never stopped writing her. Only letters back never came. Memaw could not write back, until about 3 months later when an envelope arrived in the mail. The handwriting on it was not Memaw’s but the address was. Inside was one sheet of stationery with the words ‘peanut butter’. I watched my mother cry like a baby. I didn’t understand then the importance of those 2 words in the grand scheme of things. I think as a child our faith is that she would simply start writing and spelling again, period. But the adults knew that it never coming back was a possibility as well, and that thought alone terrified my mom.
My grandmother passed away at the age of 78 and I can remember it as if it were yesterday. I remember the site of my mother walking past the casket and trying to put a single rose in Memaw’s hand. The weight of it and the coldness broke my mother. She laid over her mother and wept and sobbed. Deep racking from the soul sobs. Losing my own mother such a short time ago I get it now. I totally understand that pain and that loss and that overwhelming feeling that you are now an orphan for all intents and purposes. Because we never really stop being our parent’s babies do we?