Thursday, May 20, 2004


My mother's parents moved around a lot. She went to seven different schools during her 7th grade year. My grandfather did different things for employment. For awhile he mined for gold. That always sounded so fun and exotic, if you don't factor in that they lived poor.

My mother was born in Ashland, Oregon. She lived there during much of her childhood, but not continuously. My grandparents never lived in Ashland after my brother and I were born. We visited them in a few different places, but my favorite was Weed.

Weed is a small town in Northern California on I-5, not far from Mt. Shasta. My grandparents lived in a trailer in a trailer park...right next to the railroad tracks. And I thought it was the BEST! When you're 7 years old, what could be more fun than to spend time in a trailer where everything's compact and sized perfectly for someone your age? AND, to watch trains whiz by just a few yards away?!

It was later, in adulthood, that it dawned on me that most people would consider that a pretty less-than-desirable lifestyle. Trailer + railroad tracks = poor. But I never thought of my grandparents as poor. Ever. I don't ever remember them lacking in essentials--they just liked to move around a lot. And since I've been blessed with a healthy dose of wanderlust, I never saw that as a bad trait.

There was a wooden fence that separated the trailer park and the railroad tracks. I can remember my grandfather walking my little brother (who was maybe 2) and I over to the fence to wait for the train. I stood on the fence to get a better look as it went by. It was so fast! I probably counted the cars (or tried to) because that's something I still do. To me, it was better than Disneyland. The only thing better than spending time at that trailer park would have been to be on that train.

I've traveled by Weed many times in the ensuing years, but I've never ventured off the freeway to take a look around the town. I don't remember anything about the place except that trailer park. And maybe that's why I've never been back to visit. I'd like to keep that memory intact, rather than ruin it by seeing it through judgmentally-adult eyes.

My mother's parents were not warm, fuzzy people. They weren't overtly loving or affectionate. And that's probably another reason I choose to let that memory live untethered to reality. It's the best moment I shared with my grandfather.


You may have noticed that the right half of my blog has gone missing. (The other blog is fine.) When I published my last post, I got a weird error message that said something had gone awry and I should contact Blogger Support, which I did. I'm kind of curious to know what kind of turn-around time they have on support questions, since this was the first time I've needed to contact them. The couple of emails I sent to GMail Support were answered almost immediately, so the folks at THAT part of Google are really on top of it.


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