Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Over the weekend, I ventured home for my grandmother's 89th birthday. That's right--89 years old! But before you all start cooing in disbelief, let me just state that my grandmother is in EXCELLENT shape--both mentally and physically. She still operates a vehicle, spends a lot of time at the family business, lives on her own, and makes good sense. She's the matriarch of our awesome family, and no one is worth a trip to Florence more than her.

Part of the reason I love going to my grandmother's house is that her den and her study (what the "other" two sitting rooms are known as) are literally lined with hundreds of BOOKS. The walls are just bookshelves, and they're crammed with everything from my uncle's photography manuels to awesome, early-edition copies of literary novels. When I see those bookshelves, I feel totally awe struck and inspired. I pluck them out, one at a time, and try to imagine what my own life would be like if I owned that many volumes. They mostly belong to my Uncle Philip, so I can't just take whatever I want, but it's nice to imagine my own house filled with books one day.

And I know it sounds corny, but being home reminds me that I'm not just alone in the world, struggling to survive. Instead, I'm a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, an old friend, and a person with history and with traditions. My bedroom is like a time capsule--filled with my old short stories scrawled on sheets of paper, and my old childhood books. It reminds me of what's important, just by being there. The core of my true Denise-ness is visible, and I embrace that. I have a feeling it's going to become more and more important as the years go by.

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