One of my first memories of my friend Danes was not long after we became roommates in our sorority house over ten years ago. We were laying on the floor of our bedroom, staring at the ceiling and eating candy, and we were talking about our grandmothers. She told me a story that has stuck with me to this day. I was reminded about it this week, and I wanted to share it here. But, I realized it wasn’t really my story to tell, so I asked Danes to tell it instead. The post below was written by her. It makes me cry!
And a Happy Monday to you all! I’m Danes, Heather’s buddy (and former bunkmate) back from our Delta Gamma days at ‘SC. I was honored when she asked me to guest blog for her – how could I miss an opportunity to be part of the The Chronicles of Madeline?
Miss Maddie is practically a self-propelled unit now. She is getting closer and closer to crawling; so close, in fact, that we’re placing bets on the exact day it will happen. This causes me a massive amount of glee for a number of reasons. The first and most obvious one being the joy I get out of seeing Maddie reach milestones. The second reason is the elation I feel watching Heather and Mike experience those milestones along with her. The third is a bit more evil, but I do giggle at the thought of Heather and Mike chasing Maddie around as she continuously scoots away from them, Rigby flying out of the way, Mordecai the Eagle being permanently stashed out of reach. Admit it, it gives you a chuckle too.
Needless to say, Heather has already been prepping; picking anything and everything up off the floor, out of Maddie’s reach. She mentioned to me the other day that lately she has been picking up a crazy amount of dimes off the floor. So many, in fact, it made her think that her Grandma Mary Alice and my Grandma Catherine (Gagi) must be there together, giving Maddie some added morale. This announcement immediately caused tears to spring to my eyes as I thought of my Gagi, who I lost when I was in 8th grade. Much like Heather and her grandmother, my Gagi and I were kindred spirits.
Gagi, was my Mom’s mom, but she and my Dad were also kindred spirits of sorts. They had a raucous banter, and the only person who was allowed tease my grandmother was my Dad. I remember her asking him for screwdrivers with, “just a touch of color please,” and ribbing my Dad about his USC Trojans while he jib-jabbed at her Stanford Indians. Yes, Indians. According to my grandmother there were certain inalienable truths one had to live by: wearing a hat would cause one’s hair to fall out, a lady must never wear high heels on a boat (whuh?), and Stanford’s mascot was the INDIAN – NOT the Cardinal, NOT the Trees, and definitely NOT the FARM. The only amicable way to settle any football disputes was to bet on the winner. So Gagi and my father would bet dimes. The big lottery winner had to choke up a dime, along with a heaping amount of pride.
When Gagi died in 1992, we started finding dimes – in really odd places at even more bizarre times. Out of the many instances, here are a few. My father has a habit of taking his spare change out of his pocket every night and putting it on the counter in the kitchen. Imagine his surprise when he started finding dimes nestled in his pants pockets –all of his pants pockets; there was always only one and it was always a dime. On my brother and sister’s birthday (who are twins) he found two. After I qualified for league finals in swimming months later, I was walking off the pool deck in nothing but a towel and swimsuit, and dime literally fell out of my towel onto the ground in front of me. Another day, my parents moved Gagi’s old breakfront into our home, settled it into the living room and went to get something to drink before proceeding with cleaning it and shelving items. When they came back 30 minutes later, there was a single dime on the middle shelf surrounded by dust. One of the last times we found dimes in this manner was the night before the twins’ 13th birthday. My sister was at a friend’s house after a school dance. She decided to take a shower before getting into bed that night, and upon getting out of the shower discovered a single dime on her folded pajamas. Checking her watch, she discovered it was midnight – her birthday.
Whether or not you believe in communication from the deceased, it’s at least easy to see how something like this can bring comfort when that loved one is missed so terribly. We all truly believe to this day that it was my grandmother just popping in to say, “Hi,” and letting us know that she loved and missed us. The dimes slowed and gradually ceased after we scattered her ashes a few years later (we had to go on a trip to her favorite place to do it). I sincerely miss the dimes, and I miss her even more.
So, it should come as no great surprise that I became teary-eyed when Heather told me about all the dimes she has been finding. She and I have always maintained that our grandmothers would have been fast friends. We imagine them sitting around in heaven, sipping their cocktails, telling stories of getting into trouble, and of course bragging about their fabulous granddaughters.
It warms my heart to think of their gentle spirits watching over Maddie as she reaches the next milestone in her life, dropping dimes to let their presence be known. It reminds us all that the gift of a kindred spirit is always there, in the eyes of anyone who loved that person. With all of the love and support from so many generations of strong women I guess there’s only one thing left to say – Go get ‘em Maddie!