Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

This is my hand holding my Great-Grandmom’s hand.

By the time I was born, she was already 71. She had already lived a full life and had been retired. She’d be a widow a year later and I only knew her to be one. She would take me to bingo and we would play board games. She’d teach me things about cooking and tried to teach me to crochet. She was one of my favorite people and her hands always fascinated me, even the way she twiddled her thumbs.

Her hands had what she called “liver spots”, though most of us know them as age spots. She had been an avid gardener all of her adult life, so it was likely sun inspired damage. After she ate, I remember how she’d sweep her fingers over the table to gather any crumbs. Her fingers were strong and crooked and her fingernail and tips were oval. I just remember always thinking how unique they were. They weren’t thin and ladylike, though her movements were not harsh; they were the result of lifelong hard work.

I took this picture one morning when I sat alone with her before she passed. She was unable to speak, but she knew I was there as she squeezed my hand in response to my words. I knew I’d never forget her hands, but still I was afraid that I might. I haven’t forgotten, though it’s only been two and half years, but I like to know that I have a picture of one to remind me.

She would’ve been 100 this week. Happy birthday Grandmom.

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My Best Friend Lost His Head

Shan and Tommy - Happy in Spring

When I’m searching for blog ideas, I look through pictures.  I found this one and it brought back happiness and devastation.  That is a bit dramatic, but when you’re little, things appear much more tragic.

No, it’s not because I look like a little boy in this picture, but it’s because my favorite doll, Tommy, had a rough life.  I was an only child until I was 8 and the only grandchild, niece etc. for almost the same amount of time.  Although I had many dolls and toys, Tommy was my favorite.  He was probably the cheapest doll I had too, which my parents probably loved, right?  It’s like buying the expensive toy and the kid loves the box.  He had yarn hair, cloth limbs and a cheap plastic head.  He had big cheeks like I did (do) and just had an overall happy face.

Although I love Tommy and we had many lazy afternoon naps together, tea parties and adventures, I have to say he lost his head.  No, literally, he lost his head.  The first tragic occasion came in the summer of my third birthday.  I vaguely remember, but I’ve also heard the story enough times that it feels familiar.  I went shopping with my Mom, because that’s what three year olds do.  Upon our return to our powder blue Honda Civic, Mom popped me into my car seat and then we saw it on the backseat.  Oh no, not Tommy.  Tommy’s cheap plastic head had gotten so warm in the summer heat, that the seal connecting him to his body let loose.

Tommy was decapitated by the summer sun.

Dad tried everything from glue to zip ties.  All winter, Tommy was safe, but the minute the weather became warm, there was no telling what might become of poor Tommy.

For now, Tommy is in a box with my other special friends.  He has probably lost his head in the attic more than once since he’s been up there, but I’m hoping he’s found some stability in his life.  When I saw Toy Story 3, I thought about donating my toys that are in my Dad’s attic but then I realized I’m too selfish and sentimental; at least with dolls like Tommy. The last thing I’d want is for him to blow his top for another young child.

Now that I think about it, Tommy isn’t the only one of my “friends” in my very early years to hit a rough patch.  Maybe I’ll share the tragic assault on Megan with you soon too.  Poor, poor Megan.  At least the pug lovers would laugh at it.