Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Stories We Tell...

Mother called yesterday and brought a few "facts" to my attention. And yes, while I am not the New York Times (not that the Times is good about getting their facts straight) I do want to make sure I'm telling the truth as best as I can when I write. She specifically called in reference to the blog I wrote about my grandmother most recently. Echoes, Patience, Silence and Grace, I believe it was called.

Anyway, she set the record straight on a few things.

First, June was ACTUALLY married in Cambridge, and before they moved to New York they lived in California.

Second, the story of June and the Giant (aka, June smashes man over hear with skillet) didn't exactly play out the way the story was told to me. Now, in all fairness, this was the version that I was told, but my mother made an excellent point about June's philosophy to storytelling, which was "Why mess up a good story with the truth." If I actually knew the first thing about my grandfather (which I really don't) I would probably have realized this story is pretty far fetched. As I understand it now, Frank is a pretty mellow guy that love(d) - past tense - to drink and was in a Jazz Band. On one particular night, Frank was jamming out to the smooth sounds of some new Jazz music on his brand spankin' new stereo. The music was apparently a little too loud for June's taste, so she decided to go ahead and cut the stereo speaker wires. At that point Frank proceeded to chase June around the house, and somewhere along the line June smashed Frank over the head with a heavy duty Seven Up bottle.

And... they didn't get divorced right after that. My mother happened to have the divorce papers right in front of her, and June and Frank didn't divorce until much later - 1967, in fact, when June was nearly 28.

Truth be told, for every amazing, wonderful, heartwarming story I have of June, I have an equally traumatizing story of the woman we fearfully referred to as Taz. June was prone to her Tasmanian Devil fits, and a few of these included completely destroying my older brother's miniature rain forest garden on the side of the house (and when I say destroy, I mean she went all Genghis Khan on the garden and mowed it down with a Machete when he was 5 minutes late from coming home from work). There was also the time she went ballistic on me in Rocky Point Mexico because I refused to pick up my father's beer can collection from the previous evening. I also distinctly recall "Taz" telling Andrew he was grounded because, well, I don't really remember now, but anyway, they got into it in a big way, but Andrew was now larger than June and when she tried to push him into his room he jammed himself in the doorway with his arms and legs and refused to budge. Funny to think about now, but I'm sure Andrew feared for his life a little bit at the time. Afterall, she was handy with large knifes.

So after listing all of these things, you may wonder how it is that June came to attain hero status in my books? You know people, I'm not so sure. I guess I can't hold a grudge. I liked June, a lot. She is fun to brag about, to tell stories about - she really was an incredible woman, even if her stories weren't always accurate.

So, there, now the record is mostly straightened out. And, in my opinion, the truth is just every bit as good as the original :)