Some losses leave great big holes, Ruby. It’s hard to lose someone you love so deeply, especially when you’ve known them as long as Miss Eula knew your grandpa. (from Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles)
Yesterday I flipped through a small stack of black and white pictures, poorly copied, of my grandparents and some of their friends in 1953. The print quality was terrible–simply photocopied on regular printer paper, full of shadow and lacking sharpness. The power of the photos to evoke emotion was undiminished. There was one…
The caption simply said 1953. They would have been married about a year, maybe a little more. My grandmother, young and stunningly beautiful stood clasped to my grandfather’s side gazing up with cheerful adoration into his face. He wore a military uniform, a proud and content smile, and an obvious strength. She wore a polka dotted dress.
“I love this dress!” I said. “I love this picture.” And then my aunt told me what my grandfather said when he showed her the pictures.
He said, “Have you ever had something where you saw a picture and you could immediately remember what it felt like, what it sounded like and smelled like and felt like to be there?”
She said, “Yes, daddy. I know exactly what you mean.”
“That’s how it was for me when I saw that dress,” he said. “It took my breath away.”
My aunt told us that story and we all cried quietly for a minute. My grandmother has been gone for eleven years. Some losses leave great big holes.
But after a minute, we all started smiling. “I wonder,” said Aunt Connie, “if I’ve ever worn anything that would make Tom think that?”
“I was just thinking the same thing!” Mom and I exclaimed almost simultaneously. Would there ever be a picture, a dress, that would take my husband’s breath away even sixty years later? I don’t know. I hope so.