One reader of my Senior Sampler columns took the challenge to write a short story about her grandmother. This is what that person who wishes to remain anonymous sent to me via email: I had some enjoyable experiences with my father's mother (Mimi). Mimi would invite me to spend the weekends with her when I was a child. She would take me out to lunch and a movie. She lived in downtown L.A. I lived about 30 minutes away. In the 1950's, it was very unusual to have lunch anywhere, but home. You can imagine what a thrill it was to visit with Mimi. I really loved her. (This is called the rough draft and it’s important to just get something down to begin your history. Later you can come back and edit.) I wrote back to this reader: I need you to do some editing to make this experience more exciting for the reader. Add details, emotions, etc.
Here’s her revised version: Mimi was a charismatic grandmother. She had her ups and downs, but when she talked everyone listened. She always argued with my great aunt Podie especially at our house on Thanksgiving. Then they’d forgot their issues and we continued our dinner. It was always a lot of fun. Mimi was beautiful and dressed stylishly, although she had little money. When we were small children, she bought us beautiful clothes that my parents could not have afforded.
My last memories of her were when Mimi lived in a rest home because of dementia. She was happy and was always pleasant because she had forgotten all her gripes in life. When I went to visit her, she showed me pictures of her grandchildren. Of course, they were some other person's grandchildren. She did not remember me, only my Dad. She whispered to me that the people in the care center were quite pathetic; she couldn't figure out why she was there. She felt like she was the only sane person. I loved her because of who she was.The revised version gives the reader more details and information about this sweet grandmother’s life. It leads me to some questions that I’d like to know more about Mimi’s background and experiences that made her such a unique personality. I can truly feel the love that this writer has for her grandmother. (Thanks anonymous for daring to share your writings. Please continue writing Mimi’s story, she deserves to be remembered.) NEXT TIME: More Grandparent Stories.