Excerpt from Unheard: a Memoir – told from a child’s point of view
I liked visiting Nana, but I didn’t like Grampa because he was grouchy and said weird things and repeated himself. Every time I saw him, his funny white fuzzy hair on top of his head looked like he just woke up. He wore plaid shorts and either a white t-shirt or a button up collared shirt if he were going somewhere, and he always had a glass of beer in his hand. I don’t think he liked kids much, either, because he yelled at me a lot.
“He’s a drunken jerk,” Gramma said.
He wasn’t her real father. She never knew her real father.
On our way back from Nana’s, Gramma took me to visit my Great Aunt Gabby. She owned a neurotic poodle that always jumped up and scratched my legs, barked incessantly, and peed on the floor. She was a very intelligent woman that enjoyed crossword puzzles and playing her piano, but she was always nervous and she seemed to shake a lot. Gramma said Aunt Gabby never left the house after dark because she was afraid of getting raped.
Aunt Gabby seemed very tall compared to Gramma, and she always wore white flat old lady shoes and flowery dresses that looked like nightgowns. I thought she might be pregnant because her belly stuck out even though she was skinny everywhere else.
“Is Aunt Gabby going to have a baby?” I asked Gramma.
Gramma laughed, “Noooo….”
“Why does her belly stick out like that?”
“That’s what happens when you get old.”
I overheard that one time Aunt Gabby had a baby and lost it, and I figured maybe that was why her belly still stuck out. It was lost somewhere in her belly.