Friday, July 4, 2014

MOTHER Memoirs, GPP #0: Great-Grandson’s Diary

It’s tough to concentrate during hot summer days like this – like that day 25 years ago when I left my mother’s house, thinking I could save the world by myself.

I was wrong. I did it with a little help from my friends.

As I grew up, all of that crazy stuff I could do with my mind just faded away. I guess I didn’t need it anymore. The only thing left is my special bond with animals. And every so often, while her mother is scrambling for a blanket or a bottle, I’ll know exactly why my infant daughter is crying.

Some of the memories have started to fade, and others feel like I’m watching someone else do the things I did, like some sort of video game.

But the important stuff – my friends, my family, our courage and determination – that’s all clear. There’s other things I remember too, like how much crow pecks sting, or endless mountains and getting lost in caves,  or how scary and embarrassing and exhilarating it was to sing on stage in that big city club. But I try not to think about those things as much.

I’m still not certain why it all turned out the way it did, but from what I’ve pieced together over the years, fate had been cooking up my adventure decades before I was born. As the story goes:

In the early 1900s, my great-grandfather, George, married the love of his life, Maria, fresh out of college. George became a professor at a local university, while Maria stayed home, waiting to birth a baby that never came.

One overcast day, George went to work and Maria waved longingly after him. A quick, brutal rainstorm hit that afternoon, and neighbor went to check on them. Dinner was ready, silverware was set, and a newspaper lay open on the table, but the couple had vanished.

Two years later, as suddenly as he left, George reappeared in his hometown. He never told anyone where he had gone or what he had been doing. Instead, he isolated himself, and began an odd study. 

The only people he spoke to from then on were the town’s librarians, and the postman, who came bearing heavy books nearly every week.  

Years passed.


But George never found what he was looking for, it seemed. 

As for Maria, his wife… she never returned.

Eighty years later, my journey began.

All photography by Matt except "Young George" and "Young George and Maria" from family archives.

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