Sadly this tale is not a yarn. It is a true story, one that I’m not proud of. I was nine when hallowed inspiration struck. This creative shining moment in 1972 continues to cause me pangs of guilt. Even now I await delivery of a Time Machine ordered on Amazon, so I might return to the scene of my crime – the moment I lied for an angel.
My Grandmother’s Closet
My grandmother had her own bedroom in our home. It was a magical place. There was candy and small treasures wrapped in gift paper in her dresser. In the walk-in closet, she kept packages of Wrigley’s. The gum often called to me. I occasionally answered by sneaking a stick or two hoping it would never be missed. It never was. I thought myself clever.
It was nearing Christmas – that most magical time in ‘kiddom.’ I can’t recall why I needed gum this particular morning but I did. I tiptoed into Grandma’s room and into the big closet. While borrowing a stick of gum, I heard footsteps and was forced to wait. As I held my breath, I began perusing Grandma’s knitting supplies. This closet was loaded with rainbow balls of wool and oodles of parchment patterns. Some wool was in balls while other threads were wrapped around cardboard cones. With my laser vision, I saw naked cones – I saw angels.
In the blindness of inspired excitement, I threw caution to the wind. I took two large wool skeins and unravelled both until I held two precious cardboard cones in my thieving hands. I was going to make angels. There were swatches of fabric in our attic. One in particular, a beautiful light blue with silver and gold threads would be perfect for my angels’ gowns and the metallic pipe cleaners in my room could be fashioned into halos and wings.
I cleverly concealed the heaping wool piles behind Grandma’s shoes. With the evidence camouflaged so was the crime. How did Grandma find the displaced wool so quickly? Hadn’t I been stealth? Hadn’t I swiped gum without a single repercussion ever? With five other siblings, there might be a chance to frame someone else, or I could outright lie when prosecuted. I remember Grandma calling me into her room and pointing to the woolen spaghetti. I remember her asking me if I unravelled the wool. I remember, with Christmas only weeks away, lying for an angel.
I don’t know what became of the first angel. The second, wearing a doily gown (there wasn’t enough blue fabric) remains with me. She hangs in my studio always nearby. I never admitted my crime to Grandma. And whenever I look at my cone angel she whispers, “Grandma knew all along. She kept the first angel, the one with the beautiful gown of blue, because she thought her precious.”
Thank you. Dream of being the most honest version of yourself you can be 🙂
HAPPINESS AND PEACE IN THIS NEW YEAR, MY FRIENDS
This is a wonderful story, Ann, love the drawing too. Your grandmother had to know but loves you so. The writing pinned on the wall is beautiful, God bless you!!
Thank you, John. I often look at my cone angel and think back to not just that memory, but other fond ones 🙂
When I was little and attended Sunday Mass, I always loved that hymn – to this day the tune gets stuck in my head and reminds me to be better (or at least try) 🙂
I hope you enjoyed ringing in the New Year.
Here’s to 2015!
Awww…sweet story. Your grandmother must have been an extraordinary person! Thanks for sharing even though you had to confess a little bit 🙂
Thank you, though I wish it was a tale and not a confession 🙂 My grandmother was a tough lady who commuted into the city to work everyday. She lived in the suburbs with us, but the city never left her heart. She was an amazing woman.
Here’s to 2015!
Of course Grandma knew. And she kept the first angel so that you would know she knew, without her having to tell you. Of course, if you had only asked, she probably would have given you not only the cones, but yarn to make hair from! – Fawn
Yup, Fawn – I think she did 🙂 And she always shared, so I don’t know what possessed me to unravel. Funny, I always thought I’d admit my guilt to her at some point, but I never did. The little angel reminds me to be better or at least try 🙂
You’re blowing me away with your posts, Miss AM — I mean, really, really good — okay, I’m not going to gush . . . okay, dammit, I am! I’ll talk “writerly” here for a minute, and then personally. Writerly-wise, I love the structure of this post (mini essay, really), the headings — setting, desire, act, coverup, repercussion; it’s like a collage with a narrative arc (how’s that for throwing around some of my fancy M.F.A. jargon — but it’s absolutely true!). Really, though, this is very literary, very nice. Now personally, you shouldn’t feel so guilty — after all, you were stealing (correction: “liberating,” “borrowing”) an ANGEL, a holy relic! That shows your holiness, right?! 🙂 And I’m sure your grandma was on to you, and that behind her pointing was concealed a smile of love. Also, look how much the totem still means to you to this day — you’ve kept it and cherished it all this time. No, I’m glad you snuck in there and “flew off” with that angel. And let me say that it can be easily argued that the angel’s honesty and goodness was transferred to its new owner. 🙂
Holy #&#*!# Deb,
I wish I felt as strongly about my writing… Writing everyday (well, almost everyday) is helping me organize my thoughts a bit better. I look back at my enormous file of manuscripts with their many grammatical…faux pas and realize, wow girly, you’ve still much to learn. But, it’s wise and fine writers like you who keep nerdy ones like me on the straight and narrow path to betterment (hey, I guess betterment is a word ’cause I didn’t get the red-dotted line). I’ve committed this comment to memory.
I thank you, my friend for you support and I promise to keep at it until I can write without booboos 😉
On the subject of angels, I also somehow ended up with the Roselli family’s angel tree topper: The one my siblings and I did battle over every Christmas. Apparently, back then being the one who placed the little winged gal on the tree top was critical to survival. (A post maybe for next Christmas 🙂 )
And did you see my huge booboo in my original comment? Hint: last line. Subject/verb agreement. Yikes! But you know what, good writing isn’t about perfect grammar, spelling, punctuation — it’s about thought and feeling and being articulate enough to express those things — and — in the case of creative writing, being able to do so in new, inventive ways (which you have in spades, Miss). If you’re ever looking for a “reader” to give you feedback on something(s) from that “enormous file of manuscripts,” I’d be happy and honored to do so.
Ah, my dear friend,
Thank you for the green light to continue bastardizing the English language! My s/v agreement often does not. I like making up words – and I love using hyphens to mask a misplaced comma commitment. Sometimes, when I return to older posts I’m embarrassed. The writing is grammatically gruesome. Solid writing takes time and editing (as you expertly know) – My brain needs time to get a fresh look but with blogging there is no stepping back only pressing Publish.
I do write what I feel, so perhaps it’s my soul and not my brain that needs to return to school 😉
Be careful what you volunteer for, I may take you up on ms editing someday if you’re game. 🙂
I actually like blogging for the quick-and-dirtiness of it, but I know what you mean. Get your soul to the classroom … I’m game, 🙂
Soul Session 101 – love it!
“The unexamined life is not worth living” — Socrates