Growing up in a suburb outside of Sacramento, one of the first field trips I remember from my childhood was at the Crocker Art Museum. My mom had volunteered as one of the parent chaperones. I remember going through the exhibits, anxiously waiting to get to the next room to see what was next. What was taking everyone else so long to move on to looking at the next painting? I leaned over to my mom and asked, “why do people stare so long at the paintings?”. She replied, “I think some people like to take some time to digest the piece. The art can engage someone’s imagination. While they are still looking at the same painting, they may be thinking about something else”. I started looking at the paintings and tried to daydream about other things. But I still didn’t get it. I wasn’t able to for quite some time. It was only until my grandmother passed away where I truly understood.
Like most kids, school breaks and holiday weekends were always something I looked forward to growing up. Of course, I was excited for time off school, but what I was really excited about were visits to my grandmother’s house. My grandmother lived a few hours away in Carson City. Visiting her meant driving through beautiful Lake Tahoe and into Carson City where the ground was garnished with perfect white snow during periods of the year.
As a kid, a short 2-3 hour drive felt like forever. Once we arrived, I would run inside while my parents were unpacking the car that was full of our toys, diapers, and the rest of the essentials a parent needed when traveling with three young kids. While grandmother was outside helping them unpack, I would play in the living room and walk over to the bottom of the stairs where that painting hung. And I don’t really know why, but I would just stare at it. And as I would stare there was excitement flowing through me and I was just so excited to be there with my family.
After one last white Christmas, she passed away on New Year’s Eve. My family and I spent some time in her home, going through her belongings and finding new homes for them. She grew up in the Great Depression and kept everything. I remember fond memories of my Uncle telling my mom. “Try and get her to toss the newspapers while you’re over, she still has some that are five years old!”, or, “Please take her to buy a new purse. Her decades old Coach purse is on its last legs, it’s getting to be too embarrassing when we go out to dinner and she’s the first one to whip out her old bag as she reaches for the check”.
As you would imagine, there was a lot to go through. Much of our time was spent separating the junk from the treasure. After another exhausting afternoon cleaning and organizing, I hear my uncle in the other room ask, “does this painting speak to anyone?”, and my mother responded, “Let’s put that in the donation pile”. My heart sank as I rushed into the room. I interrupted, “That painting is coming home with us”. My mom looked confused, and curious as to why I was persistent on keeping a large painting we had no room for. Nevertheless, she agreed and moved it to the pile that was coming home with us.
To this day when I come home to visit my mother, I have the same ritual. As soon as I’m home, I walk up the stairs and take a minute to look at the painting. Looking at that painting resurfaces the nostalgia and excitement of getting to grandmother’s house.
I can’t walk past that painting without smiling.
While it is in safe keeping at my mother’s house, I still plan to have that painting in my own home one day. I plan to keep her memories alive by passing down stories about my grandmother to my future family. I feel extremely lucky to have something left of her that resurfaces my fondest memories of my childhood- visits to grandmother’s house.
My goal is to share my story and help create something you can cherish when your loved ones pass. At MemoryVideo.com, we use technology to create something special- a video showcasing the personalities and stories of your loved ones. Let us work with you to create a video that you can pass down from generation to generation.
Note from the MemoryVideo.com Team: Imagine being able to re-watch Gabbie’s grandma’s Memory Video interview on her birthday, even if Grandma’s isn’t with us anymore. Imagine if Gabbie could show the video to her future kids.