Our Grandmother’s Story (From My Perspective)
Grants Pass, Oregon
The Hall was packed.
Beautiful ladies in their gowns and jewels,
the men in their finest attire.
Chandeliers, gold embossed scroll work on the balconies and walls,
palatial wonders, nothing lacked.
The audience murmured with excitement as they found their way to their seats.
The orchestra settling with their instruments,
arranged their music and wiped their sweaty palms.
Nervous eyes awaiting the conductor’s calm.
Pitched to wild crescendo, lingering, he works the audience,
as he enters ‘the pit’, they jump to their feet.
He mounts his podium after several stiff bows,
the musicians sigh quietly, internally, they can focus and relax now.
He turns his back to the audience and gazes over his well-tuned, human machine.
His stern, chiseled face looks at his music and opens the page.
The baton is raised, the curtain remains closed
on the stage.
The violins start with the lightest of pastel,
the French horns and Cello paint their green and blue,
the Harp adds it’s silver and gold.
So, begins the dream.
The notes begin to rise, he stirs them together in a whirling tempest strand,
they fill the air into the hall; no ear escapes his hand.
The lights have dimmed except for the amber light on the curtain.
She watches from behind, to the side of the stage
and moves to her seat at the Grand, fully engaged.
Her demeanor defined, her poise, her spirit swells.
She is the star of this performance; that one thing, is for certain.
The audience, well primed, is at an emotional peak.
Her cue arrives and with her dynamic chords;
away the curtain sweeps!
The audience is left breathless, together they gasp for air.
To be the witness of such skill,
to marvel at perhaps the one thing holy in man, oh, what a thrill.
Surely, they have just tread,
where angels only dare.
The end falls heavy, a short pause, the audience dazed.
Suddenly, they shoot to their feet with a deafening roar, totally amazed!
She rises from the Grand, her beautiful face smiling at her adoring crowd.
The conductor nods, he is pleased,
she acknowledges his gesture and quickly curtsies.
The applause remains constant, thundering loud.
Then, sharp light flash, like God himself, pain, smashing glass piercing into my eyes and I scream.
Starburst explosion, the crowd is gone, me, who is … floating in … blackness, my dream.
I was a child once … I had ideas of my own once.
I thought, and was pleased with my thoughts; I knew things for certain.
My dream, the stage, the curtain.
Wait … I remember … I … think I know … but … no … can’t be sure.
Betrayed! …. People I thought … love?
I knew … someone … with family, children, faith in God above.
Forget her name now … thought … so much of her …
‘Missus Alice! … Alice Cordelia! … Missus Alice, you there?
Doctor, her eyes are open but I don’t think she’s aware.’
The doctor didn’t look up, ‘She’ll snap out of it in an hour or two.
Take her back to the ward,
she won’t be going anywhere, on her own accord.
But you’ll see, in a few weeks she’ll be as good as new.’
The two nurses looked at each other,
then to Alice and wiped her mouth,
wrapped her shoulders with a blanket cover.
‘Oh honey, bless your heart.
We’ll make you comfortable, let’s go now,
get you back to your bed,
let you rest your poor, weary head.
You know, she is such a beautiful thing,
this treatment, is just tearing her apart.’
‘Don’t tell the young ones
how this drove your Ma’s mind away.
This business took the best from us,
I love her to this day.
I took her in the car,
to a place, that’s south of here.
I saw her standing in the window
as she watched me disappear.’
Bio: Marcalan tells us: So many things are left unspoken between generations, family laundry, never to be aired in public. The people of my parent’s generation would not speak of certain things or just didn’t think it was important, lost memories of people, gone forever. My father’s mother was a concert pianist. Quite popular in her world, her time. She was institutionalized for what was considered a mental disorder, no one really knowing what it was in those days. She received electric shock treatment for this problem. The hospital where she was left burned down and all records of her were destroyed. I embroidered this writing for her.