Maps of Heart & Time

8 Nov

She rings the doorbell and skips in through the open door, looking at me for a reaction. I smile and tell her I rang a few unnecessary doorbells in my early years. She processes this information, taking in the tall lady with an unfamiliar accent, who cleans alongside her mother because she’s just anal like that.

I take the Swiss chalet from its perch on the bar, gently wind the old key, and open the roof. Sweet, lilting notes fill the air and her green eyes, sun-streaked hair tumbling into them, widen with delight. The smile extends to her mouth and she holds my gaze as I gently shut the roof. And then, because just once is never enough, I open it again and let the music waft between us.

When she picked this little box of joy somewhere in the Alps 64 years ago, Nana couldn’t have known that someday, a 4-year-old Mexican-American girl would share its delights with her granddaughter, who clings to this memory of her beloved spirit’s life.

November 8, 1921. Just the date makes my heart glad.

Happy birthday. Thank you for knowing how to love me.

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8 Responses to “Maps of Heart & Time”

  1. Aunty G November 8, 2013 at 2:08 am #

    My eyes have welled up
    My heart has swelled up
    Nana, thank you
    If only you knew
    The joy and respect with which your g-d’s held up!

  2. Pallavi November 9, 2013 at 12:50 am #

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. Can only imagine how your nana must have been.

  3. Ginger November 9, 2013 at 2:51 am #

    In my family,nobody likes to cook 😀
    But Is this about your paternal or maternal grandmum?
    Was your maternal granny a better cook than your mom?

  4. handwrittenonly November 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

    Aww! Touching, moving. Mari Ankhma Aansu Aya. Was the tune Edelweiss? I need to know to read and imagine once again. Do tell. I loved the description of the interaction between you and Green Eyes and the music wafting, connecting. You have told me about your Nana and I know that she really knew how to love you. What a sweet memory.

  5. R November 14, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    I know I will come back time and again, to read this post. Just like I read that other one about little C. Or the one (s) you wrote about your dad. You paint such vivid word pictures, OJ. And your love for the people in these posts shines through, ever so beautifully.

  6. Orange Jammies November 15, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Aunty G: Thank you, thank you, my Aunty G
    I think she knows, wherever she may be
    She was my heart
    And played a huge part
    In nurturing and sustaining me

    Pallavi: Thanks, P. How are you, girl?

    Ginger: The answer, my friend, is blowing in this blog.

    handwrittenonly: No, not Edelweiss. That song was popularized much after the music box was bought. I will show it to you the next time we meet.

    R: 🙂 Do visit whenever your heart desires. I sometimes wonder about the propriety of baring my deepest loves on this page–but I think the world could always do with more expressions of the emotion. Hopefully this doesn’t leave anyone sad.

  7. dipali55 November 16, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Such a lovely post! I bet your granny was delighted, wherever she is, God bless her and a very happy birthday to her.

  8. Orange Jammies December 4, 2013 at 10:55 am #

    dipali: Nana, not Granny. 🙂 Granny is mum’s mum.

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