15.10.09

Tell Me Another Story

When I was little, I liked to hear stories about when my parents and grandparents were kids.  I could listen to the story about my dad ice fishing with my grandfather and his leg going through one of the holes in the ice over and over again.  I would beg for just one more telling of my mom's childhood Halloweens when she had cocoa with Einstein.  

My grandmother told me stories of her own childhood, swimming in the canal, living on a houseboat, leaving food and money out for the Gypsies.  My grandmother and mother both told me over and over the stories about my great-grandmother's house getting moved.  That great-grandmother (who died long before I was born) was also a midwife and I could listen to stories about her lying-in hospital in the very house that got moved all the way across town and was such a big to do that all of the kids got out of school to watch it go by until the storyteller was hoarse.

My grandfather told me stories of his boyhood as a hellraiser.  He and his brothers made mischief all around town.  My great-uncle trained their dog, Pickles, to ride on the running board of the car and sit on top of the "fireplugs" and wait for them outside school.

My very favorite story of all, though, was the story of my maternal great-grandmother cutting her hand with a hatchet when she was a little girl and her dad cleaning it with turpentine and pulling down cobwebs from the barn to stop the bleeding.

There are a million more - a million stories that my parents and I will tell my kids someday.  The thing I wonder, though, is what stories will I tell of my own growing up?  When my kid asks me a story about when I was little, what will I say?

It isn't that I don't have stories, but I wonder which will come to mind first.  Which ones will I tell them when they're little?  Which ones will I save for the adolescent moaning, heartbreak, vitriol?  Will I be able to whittle the salient points out of the larger tale?

I never realized the wisdom of the timing of my parents' stories.  Some were timed to keep me amused, others to get me to bed, still others to make me feel better or illustrate points.  Later, they were stories of empathy over broken hearts or having to do something undesirable -- each one told at the perfect moment.

I hope I tell stories as well as my parents.  I hope my chidren are as eager to hear them as I was.

2 comments:

Dirty Kitten said...

Your parents have some great stories for sure. You forgot to mention all the "manager" stories, tho.

Dorothy said...

Ha! Yes. Those are good stories. I'm thinking of pumping my mother for information and writing them down.