catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 16 :: 2007.09.07 — 2007.09.21


Remember that time...

I don't come from a great line of storytellers, the best we can offer is talking.  So, in a sense, I come from a great line of talkers!  This trait of ours has been utilized quite a bit recently.  About two weeks ago my grandfather passed away and during this time we've shared many stories, some familiar and some new.  While rifling through pictures to use in a slide-show during grandpa's memorial service, it was a natural opportunity to pause and remember.  My sister and I were reminded of summer vacations spent in California, at the zoo or Disneyland in our matching outfits.  There were the many photos of Christmas' past with bad perms and haircuts and grandpa hugging us so tight our eyes would bug out!

Ok, back on track—storytelling!  If my dad has an audience, my sister and I know to watch out because he's bound to share stories about us.  His favorites are: 1.) how I single-handedly ruined my parents social life by screaming.  Apparently, this is annoying!  In my defense I was very small and liked to hear my voice at different octaves, I wasn't screaming out of distress.  The way I see it I just liked to be loud.  At least I grew out of it!  and 2.) the day my older sister backed up the sewer…at the time my family was living and working at a children's home in the desert of Arizona.  Melissa's chore for the week was trash, and this time there was quite a bit to carry.  As she was walking to the dumpster she noticed a hole in the ground and stuck our trash into it; come to find out she had put our garbage into the sewer and caused a major back-up for the whole compound. 

There's one story Dad tells that happens to not be an embarrassing moment in my and my sister's lives, but it's one that instantly transports us to a time when we were very, very scared and very lost!  Our family was moving from Arizona to California; my sister was in a car with grandma, I was with grandpa, and mom and dad were in the moving truck.  We had stopped at an In-N-Out burger joint for lunch and while there grandpa, dad and grandma discussed the route and where we would stop for the night.  While on the road I fell asleep, which is pretty much how every road trip goes for me, and when I woke up the car holding grandma and my sister and the car with my grandpa and me were on the side of the road.  Now, I didn't immediately panic, but I didn't see the moving truck anywhere.  Right away my sister was freaking out and had decided we were going to have to live with grandma and grandpa if we never found mom and dad.  In the meantime, Grandma was talking to the CHP from a road-side assistance phone.  After several hours and no sight of the truck we decided to head on and stop for the night.  Grandma stayed connected to CHP for most of the night, while Melissa and I continued to look for moving trucks in hopes mom and dad would turn up, but to no avail.  The next day we were in a Wendy's in Merced quietly feasting on burgers and cokes when we saw the moving truck go past.  I've never seen my family move so fast, but in about five minutes, we were in our respective cars and on the freeway heading to our new home.  We arrived to find mom and dad in front of the house, let's just say it was the sweetest reunion ever.  And no Melissa, we didn't have to live with the grandparents after all.  Come to find out, Dad took the wrong exit and we all ended staying in towns about 15 minutes from each other!  Immediately after this trip cell phones were purchased all around for the "just in cases".  To this day we still laugh about how the self-proclaimed family of talkers didn't communicate very well that day!

As different members of my family have come and gone to the house since grandpa's passing and memorial service, there have been many stories shared and memories relived; like grandma sharing about how she and grandpa met and then married, how my dad and his brothers grew up in a idyllic neighborhood where everyone knew each other and how every 4th of July the kids would put on a parade complete with bikes, streamers and clanging pots and pans, or how their house was the house where friends were welcomed like family and it was a safe place for many of them, which is still true to this day.  Of course we never tire of hearing the story that tops them all: about how my grandpa earned the nickname "The Hammer".   See, once during a very competitive Pictionary game, his team couldn't guess the clue "build"… and all he needed to draw was a hammer—classic!

These are the stories we come back to, that cause us to laugh, cry or sometimes both.  But no matter what, they always point to our past, present and future, forever weaving us together as family.

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