Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The bird from Gardner

Every week during Mass when the  two people bring the offerings down the aisle to our priest, I don't see them.  I see my Meme and Pepe.  When I was a child attending Mass (we had a very small church) it was often these two I saw walking down the aisle.  Meme on the left, and a full foot shorter than my Pepe (she was just 5 feet and shrunk to 4'11" in her later years).

To say I loved my Meme and Pepe would be an understatement.  My Meme was loving and kind.  She liked to overfeed you and give you gifts.

My Pepe always had a flat top haircut, even when his hair thinned.  He was lanky and tall and loved to play jokes and amuse people, especially his granddaughter.

My Pepe took this picture of my brother with
his glasses and the newspaper with the
headline "Civil Rights Sex Orgies".
The story of my Meme and Pepe's courtship goes like this.  There was once this tall lanky guy who really liked this girl.  But she lived in Fitchburg and he lived in Gardner, and he had no car.  So one day he walked all the way to Fitchburg to visit her.  Her father let them sit in the parlor   They talked for a brief time.  Then he had to leave because he had to walk all the way home.  Her father referred to him from then on as "the bird from Gardner" - he flew in, he flew out.

I realize now that my two youngest and my two newest will never meet my grandparents.  They will never see them walk down the center aisle of our church with the offerings in their hands.  They will never watch Bugs Bunny cartoons with my Pepe, or be overfed by my Meme.   I will just have to keep them alive in our hearts and minds by stories and pictures. Because surely they are Nellie and Marin's great grandparents too and deserve a place in their memories.

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