Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Richard Takes Care of Them All

This is a story that Granny wrote for Maya, when Maya was about three or four, about Richard, when he was six.

Now, one Sunday evening in September, the very day after Maya and her Mama and Dado moved into their new house, Granny and Maya talked on the telephone. As it happened, Granny hadn't written a new story for Maya for two or three weeks, because she had been sick, and she had e-mailed Maya's Mama to let her know that and Maya's Mama had told Maya so that Maya would know that Granny stilled loved her even when she didn't mail her new stories. So, when Granny called that Sunday evening, Maya wanted to talk to her on the phone, so she did.

"The first thing I did was look for the cheese, Granny," Maya said. Dado had already told Granny that after he and Mama moved all their possessions to the new house and cleaned up the old one, they had taken Maya to say good-bye to the old house and to see that all of their things were gone. They wanted her to know that every single little thing they owned was in the new house. And when they went into the old, empty house, Maya ran right to the refrigerator to get some cheese, but the cheese had gone to the new house. So, since Dado had told her about it, Granny knew just what Maya was talking about.

Then Maya said, "I have my own bedroom, Granny." And Granny said, "Do you like your new bedroom, Maya?" and Maya said, "Granny, next week I am going to come and visit you. When I come to your house, I am going to take care of you, Granny." So then Granny knew that Maya knew she had been sick. Granny was very happy that Maya wanted to take care of her, and she wished that Maya really could come and see her next week. But then she remembered that she was going to go see Maya for Thanksgiving, and so she was very happy about that.

Now, when Granny got off the phone, she thought about Maya wanting to come to Juneau and take care of her. She thought about it before she went to bed, and she dreamed about it when she was in bed, and the very first thing she thought about when she woke up the next morning was Maya wanting to come to Juneau and take care of her. She thought about it so much that when she met Aunt Kathy for lunch, she told her about it. Aunt Kathy agreed with Granny that Maya was just the sweetest little sweety, and they had a good talk about her as they ate their Filipino food.

When Granny was walking back up the hill to her apartment, she still was thinking about Maya wanting to come and take care of her. Then she thought about when Maya's Mama was a very little girl named Julie, and her Uncle Richard was a little boy named Richard, and Granny was a young mother named Mom, and how twice she got sick and both times Richard took care of her and of Julie, both.

The first time that happened, Mom and Richard and Julie were living in Stockton, and Richard was 5 and Julie was 3. Mom got pretty darned sick with the flu, and she could hardly stand up. So, she went to the living room and lay on the couch, and Richard took care of her and of Julie all day. When it was time to eat, he fixed peanut butter sandwiches for Julie and himself (Mom was not hungry). And when it was time to go to bed, he helped Julie get ready for bed, and he got himself ready, and off they went. All day long he brought Mom water and made sure she was doing okey. And Mom didn't know what she would have done without him.

The second time, Richard was 6½, and Julie was 4½, and they were living on the homestead in Fairbanks. Now, the homestead was a very frontier place to live in 1969, and although it had electricity (so there were lights, and a refrigerator, and a tv) it didn't have water or plumbing (so Mom had to go out to the creek to get water to wash dishes with and everybody had to go outside to the potty) and it had a potbellied stove, and Mom had to bring coal in for the stove in buckets. So, it happened that this time when Mom got sick it was winter and the ground was covered with snow and it was very cold, so the stove had to be kept burning with coal. Mom was very sick this time and couldn't do much at all for several days. And all that time, Richard went out to the coal shed and brought in coal and kept the stove going. Now, remember, Richard was only 6½, so he couldn't carry in much coal each time, so he had to go back out and get bucket after bucket. And he had to put it in the stove just right so the fire wouldn't go out. And he fixed meals for himself and Julie, and this time he was older and he could fix soup as well as sandwiches. And this time, again, Mom didn't know what she would have done without Richard.

And when Mom thinks about that these days, she is still so proud of Richard and so thankful that he was able to take care of her when she was so sick.


Anonymous said...

I got really sick upon my return from Xmas vacation which totally ruined my New Years. I was so sick I too couldnt get out of bed for 5 days. But my kids are much older, 11 & 13. But they took really good care of each other and me. They even stayed quiet and kept the house clean. I am a lucky mom. And so are you. :)

Ms. Mamma said...

What a touching story. Your children are amazing, even to this day. Sometimes I wonder what day it is...