Went home to the folks this weekend, and on Friday night my father and I were sitting in the den and he was talking about his life. The subject of my deceased grandfather came up. “I never knew him,” I said.
“You can meet him!” my father exclaimed.
“You can read his novel.”
I’d heard years ago, when we’d moved my grandmother into a hospice, that my grandfather had written a novel. My father found it buried inside a closet, a typewritten manuscript. Supposedly, it had been moved to the outside shed, stored in a box. So we opened the rusty lock of the shed, rummaged through two dozen boxes to find the ones with my grandfather’s hidden treasures. We found old photographs, poems he’d written, a diary of his from the 1920s, a stamp collecting book, and yet more evidence of life in the form of residue from field mice that had found their way into the shed. Some of the papers had been eaten, made into nesting. And, sadly, no novel. (Not eaten, I hope!)
My father assures me it’s there, somewhere. Perhaps not in the shed, but in the attic. I eagerly look forward to meeting my grandfather. From the poems I read, I can tell he has a wry sense of humor, and I can see where my father gets his. My grandmother also wrote poetry (she also played handball in her youth and did pushups every day into her 80s). And my father this weekend told me that, during a bout of insomnia, a little voice inside him told him he needs to write a novel. He was literally bursting with ideas. My father will be 72 in January. Recently he had a brush with cancer, which he handled in stride and is now bouncing back into full vigor.
It just goes to show one should never stop dreaming. Now I know where I get my writing gene from. My paternal family were a bunch of closet writers and poets! Next to pester my mom about her side. Sometimes she scribbles a bit on a notepad and I gasp at the little Mona Lisas she just tosses away. My new plot: to uncover her closeted artist.