Posts Tagged ‘non-fiction’


Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.


We walked into the house and my husband told me to sit on the couch while he went to his grandmother’s room to see if she was awake. I was more nervous than I thought I would be. I was meeting my husband’s family for the first time. This was the first stop where I would meet his maternal grandmother before going on to  his parents’ house.

From the other room I heard a frail voice ask to be helped out of bed so she could come and meet me. She was bedridden and I had been told that if she was awake, I would go into her room to meet her but here she was, asking to come meet me. I wondered if I should go down the hall and find them so that she wouldn’t have to come out of bed but by then, I could see that they were making their way out to the hall as I saw the front of her walker round the corner into the hall.

“Well excuse me for sitting down before meeting you but I need to sit a lot these days. Come here so I can meet you properly and welcome you with a hug.” She was frail but strong. Her presence was commanding, all eighty pounds of her!

She gave me a strong hug then held on to me.  “Let me look at you. I don’t see well anymore so you need to stand very close so I can see your face.” She studied me but not in a way that was off  putting. “Oh you’re a pretty one! Look at that beautiful hair. And I see you have earrings on. I can’t tell what they look like but I can see them dangling from your ear. Tell me about them. Oh! But sit first. Make yourself at home. Can my grandson get you something to drink?”

I sat and she chatted with me for awhile. She told me about how she loved jewelry and never left the house without her jewelry. She said she always had to have a ring, a bracelet, a wrist watch, and earrings or she felt naked! She told me about how she had lived in Fort Wayne in Indiana all her life but when her daughter, Laurabelle, told her a her husband had come home late one night without their daughter because he had forgotten to pick her up from school, she sold her house and packed her belongings and drove from Fort Wayne to Calexico. She was determined that nothing like that would ever happen to her granddaughter or any of her grandchildren again. So she bought the house so that the children could walk to her house after school every day until they were picked up and if they weren’t picked up, they were safe there with her.

I heard a lot of stories that afternoon but then she got tired. She went to rest and we headed out the door and to my in-laws’ house and although I was still nervous, the afternoon with my new grandmother-in-law had eased a lot of my nerves.

That was my first introduction to Nonnie. I didn’t know her long. She died less than a year after our afternoon meeting, but in many ways, I got to know her much better than I got to know anyone else in the family.

To me and the rest of the family, she was Nonnie. To everyone else, she was Zama.

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Join me during the month of April as I blog through the alphabet. My theme will be What’s In A Name. I will attempt to write up a short fictional character sketch beginning with a different letter of the alphabet each day. Remember that a place can also be a character.

Julian Street ran from one end of town to the other, east to west. Much of it was commercial but the part where I lived was a lot more residential. Well, I didn’t really live on Julian. I lived around the corner. It was pretty much  a quiet two lane one way street on the part where I lived but there was a gas station on the corner and another a few blocks east of me and a Safeway grocery store a block west of me. But other than that, it was all houses. Later on there were some apartments but when I lived there there weren’t any. It was quiet enough that my mother let us walk to the grocery store around the corner. We actually had to walk along Julian but it was safe back then. I’m not sure what the speed limit was then, I would guess maybe 25. Then you have to remember that there were a lot less cars back in the early 1960’s.

I mentioned that gas station a few blocks east of us? Well, it was the first time we had seen a gas station with a store inside. My dad could buy beer and wine in there and we could buy soda and ice cream and candy and sometimes, when Safeway was out of something my mom needed, we could go to the gas station to find it at the store inside. When one of my brothers or sisters was sick, with a fever and nausea, my mom would send one of us to the gas station store to buy a little bottle of Coke syrup which she used to get rid of the barfs. They used to have this deal there, too, where you could take in your own empty bottle and they would fill it with soda from the fountain and it was a lot cheaper that way. We had a big family and we really didn’t drink soda because it was too expensive but once in awhile, as a treat, we would be allowed to buy the fountain soda and have them put it in our gallon sized bottle. What came in a gallon size bottle with a narrow pour spout and a handle that we could take to fill up with soda? My dad’s wine jugs! We usually took them in with the label removed and cleaned off but once we took in an empty wine jug with the label still on it. When Ben, the old man that lived across the street came over to have a cigarette with my dad, my dad decided to play a joke on him. He got the root beer that was in the wine jug that still had the wine label on it and he poured us each a glass of soda but didn’t say anything about it being soda. When we came to drink it, Ben’s eyes just about popped out of their sockets! He thought we were all drinking wine, including my youngest sister who was only about two at that time.

I remember those days with fond memories. Julian Street is a lot different now. I know for a long while it was a pretty bad area. The whole neighborhood had gone downhill. That was about twenty years after we moved away from that area. Now I hear that it has gotten to be a pretty nice area with homes selling for a million dollars! It’s strange to think that I once lived in a million dollar home, only it wasn’t worth that when I lived there. Far from it!

One of these day I’ll go back to town and go visit Julian Street and see what it’s like. One of these days.










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