When I was very little, my parents would make a cross-country trip to see my grandparents in Mexico. It was a 3 day trip, partly because my mother didn't drive and partly because many of the interstates weren't finished--or started.
The trip was a huge event for me. I loved my grandma and couldn't wait to see her. But there was one other lady I wanted to see. From my earliest recollections, there was a painting of a fragile-looking woman with light brown hair and blue eyes. She was my great grandmother.
I would stare at the painting sometimes all afternoon, wishing the lady in the picture would speak to me. I had a million questions.
My grandmother noticed my fascination (grandmas by nature are very smart and particularly observant). She'd tell me little stories about my great grandmother. She was from Spain, and yes, there was a big population of blonde-haired and blue-eyed Spaniards. (Obviously that gene skipped me completely.)
For such a tiny and frail woman, she seemed to have tremendous fortitude. In the 1870s, she left her home and sailed for Mexico with her new husband, never to see her own family again. Through this delicate little woman sprung an enormous new clan.
Every time I visited I'd pay my respects to my great grandmother. Her portrait always hung in a place of honor.
Over the years, I visited less and less, and finally not again until I was an adult with a new husband of my own. Once again, I looked for that painting. I asked my grandmother if she'd let me be the painting's guardian after she was gone. It was all but secured.
But when my grandma passed away, I forgot about the painting until many months later when I grew nostalgic. My mother made inquiries among the relatives but no one seemed to know its whereabouts. I was heartbroken.
Undaunted, my mom went for an extended visit to continue her sleuthing. The painting had been scoffed up by some of her second cousins. With no will, I had no right to it. At this point I even offered to buy the painting because it was so important to me.
The second cousins, suspicious now that it might be valuable, refused me outright. I never saw or heard about the painting's whereabouts again.
I hope someone is taking care of my great grandmother, but somehow I doubt it. All I wanted was to keep some token of her memory in safekeeping until it was my time to pass it on.
That delicate face haunts me to this very day.
Is there anything that haunts your memories?