My grandmother's writings? Who would have guessed? My sister had recently discovered a handful of papers that are family gold. In finding time to relish and savor my grandmother's hand-typed work, I wondered if it was her hands that placed the now-aging paperclip to her word-smithed creations.
Hand-written notes about The NewYorker and Saturday Review smattered some of the pages— I remember, as a child, hearing about my grandmother's work being published. Among the pages was also a sweet story about my uncle when he was very young. In summary, it was about the fuzzy caterpillars that had descended upon Southern California once a year and "terrorized" his psyche. He'd dubbed them "Kitty Cat Worms." I can just picture the feline-like squiggly fuzz-creatures from his childlike perspective that literally, for him, produced nightmares. As a result, and despite my grandparent's encouragement, my uncle wouldn't play outside while "they were out there!" The only saving grace was escaping miles away to this grandparent's beach house.
I experienced laughter and tears as this young family member came to terms with the fuzzy little beasts. PROMPTING, ENCOURAGEMENT, and even ESCAPE did not solve this seasonal "issue" for two years in a row. My young uncle and all of his household members had a collective term for unfounded fears, and they were dubbed "afraid-that-makes-no-sense" fears— and this was one of them.
I felt the tender and sentimental twist in the story when it rained "an unseasonal cloud-buster." My young uncle sat in reflection under "soft meringue clouds decorating a brilliant sky." Some of the "kitty cat worms" had died and drowned. Only then did he make peace with his fear as he put it to rest (literally)— he arranged a funerary box for some of them. And he gently used a "sprinkle bottle" on others (within his home and with Granny's help), only to delight in some's survival.
In reflection overall, I can relate— the sweet innocence of unfounded fears, facing death and loss directly, and nurturing a sense of "survival." I broke into tears when I read my grandmother's words to her innocent child as he asked about the loss of the fuzzy caterpillars...
"Yes," she said, "but lots of new things will grow now because it rained."
As I face this pandemic, in my founded (and unfounded) fears, in my direct experience with multiple deaths/tremendous loss, and as I as I seek to find ways to nurture my own survival— I feel a resonance. In the synchronicity of timing of reading my grandmother's words from across the veil— perhaps I will find the new things that grow because of the rain.
I love you granny— and not only for the memories of your delicious lasagna!
As a follow up to writing this, in my curiosity, I decided to look up, "Is a caterpillar an insect?"
Of course it is— once a caterpillar has endured the cocoon, it's a butterfly!!!