Yesterday I wrote about the passing of my Grandmother and the money I found in her garage refrigerator. I’ve always wondered why it came to be that she had more than $4,000 in her refrigerator. Here I make an effort at finding her perspective, though not her voice, based on my limited information, to tell the story through her fictional point of view. —
“J’s gone, ” I said to each of my Grandkids over the phone. 3 weeks earlier I’d lost my only son. Now my daughter was gone too.
I had to do so many things.
The grandkids didn’t want me to be alone, but couldn’t yet come. They called some extended family and they came. I didn’t want them here. I didn’t want any of this.
Family came and went for the funeral, the second that month. We had just done this. This. It took my breath away.
Settle the estates, file the paperwork. It’s what has to be done.
J’s desk was a medicine cabinet of pills and ink pens and nail clippers. A carton of cigarettes, half empty. Inside her top drawer were the envelopes, left over from paying bills and reused for saving. She’d kept money from substitute teaching jobs or the sale of an item at a yard sale or…whatever. This money had a purpose. Each envelope had a label “For a gift for mother.” “To buy a new blouse.” “Toys for Tim’s at Christmas.” $50, $25, $100. “Rebate money from Duracell,” $5. Four Thousand Eight Hundred Eighteen Dollars. $4,818.
It’s mine now and I don’t even need it. Maybe I’ll put it away. Buy myself a gift. Buy toys at Christmas for the great grands like J wanted. Maybe.
I’ll put it in the filing cabinet now. Move it to a shoe box later. Pack it away. When I move into my new house, I’ll bring it separately from the help I have to move. It’s nobody’s business. It’s mine now, and I don’t even need it. I’ll put it in a box in the fridge and forget about it. I don’t even want it. It’s a memory of things left undone.
Now I have to go read yesterday’s post because there is more I want to know … so sad. I love how you tried to make sense of it from her point of view. My parents hid money in all kinds of placing. So many people told us to check everywhere for money when we cleaned out their house – I was so surprised to find it everywhere. Maybe I should be hiding money …
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We should all be hiding money. I think that’s a good idea, if for no other reason than to mystify the youth of tomorrow!
This is so sad but such as statement of what so many people have done for so many years. Writing from your grandmother’s perspective is an interesting way to share the magnitude of the loss from the “first person perspective.”
Goosebumps. Yes. This is so believable from that generation of elders. I love this explanation of your found cache!
This is so starkly real and remarkable that you have found her voice. We sometimes debate how identity of author’s can intersect with voice and you have created an authentic elderly female voice her. I’m in awe. Thank you for sharing your gift.
Your words are so generous. Thank you.
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Tim, I sure understand how your grandmother felt! When we built our house, we added a safe so that we could keep money at home safely for any emergency. It’s a good feeling to know it’s here, and Covid has certainly had an impact on all the ways we try to keep ourselves prepared for any situation.
What a great way to develop a small moments story! And I love the way you tucked in the afterthought that became your discovery, “I’ll put it in a box in the fridge and forget about it.” Both of these posts hold that little twist at the end, both are so well written. They honor your grandmother!
My grandmother hid money, too – must have been a Depression-era effect. Worried about not having it or someone taking it. This, however, is so much money! The rationale was surely that no one would think to look for money in the refrigerator… your narrative voice is powerful and what strikes me most – that ending line: “It’s a memory of things left undone.”
Writing from your grandmothers perspective was a genius of an idea and you made it seem so easy – but something tells me you knew her well so…
My parents were depression era babies and didn’t hide money, rather stockpiled ketchup from McDonalds and candle stubs. Maybe someday I’ll write about that!
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