The Facebook Posts – Mel’s Cancer Diaries
During my recovery in January of 2016 I kept a small basket with books, journals, candy and other various sundries that I might need next to my bed. It was overflowing so I decided to rummage through the pile to see what could be tossed out. I came across a small white box. Inside was a key chain of an Airstream trailer. Immediately, I knew it belonged to my Grandfather. I had this faint memory of finding it one day in my Mother’s house several months before. I remembered thinking that I really liked that key chain because it reminded me of my grandparents home growing up.
My grandfather owned a business and the minute he made his first million dollars he sold the company and the house, packed up my grandmother and bought the biggest Airstream trailer and brand new Chevy Sububan he could find. He and my grandmother traveled in that trailer for over thirty years. In the summers they would come back to Michigan from the Southwest, or Florida, or Alaska, or where every they had wandered. The Airstream would be parked for a couple of weeks in our driveway in the middle of suburbia. I thought everyone’s grand parents lived like this.
I loved that big, silver bullet of a trailer. I would walk around to the door and knock on the clover-shaped grate that protected the screen. Once inside my two elderly grandparents would be watching Gun Smoke and playing “marbles” – a board game similar to Chinese Checkers. I would gaze around at their minimal decor fascinated by the red candy jar filled with “old people” mints. You know the soft white peppermint candy that feels and tastes like a piece of chalk? Red was a theme in the trailer. They also had polished petrified wood with a deep red gleam tucked into a small corner as decoration. The seductive color of those fossils stick in my memory.
Back to the key chain. When I saw it in my pile of things next to my bed I immediately called my mother to tell her what I found. I didn’t know where it came from or how it turned up in my room, 250 miles away from her home where I first discovered it.
“Honey”, she said. “I gave that to you for Christmas. Don’t you remember opening it?” I was dumbfounded that I had forgotten most of Christmas morning with my mother and daughters. I wondered if mom made cinnamon rolls and played holiday music even though I was there.
Quickly, I realized I shouldn’t be ashamed of forgetting about that gift and the countless other things I found in my room that I didn’t recognize. My mastectomy surgery was December 22 and Christmas was just a few days later. I was so out-of-it, on Norco and Valium that I barely had any memory of opening gifts with my family.
That day I found a book, a necklace AND an entire outfit that completely escaped my memory. I just hope I thanked whomever it was that gave me those things!