if you knew susie

When you miss a person you don't just miss the interactions.

My grandma and grandpa (really Papa, he was always Papa, from the time I could talk) are gone now and the world is harder and has more edges without them.

It isn't just the things they did or the way they said, "There's my girl!" when I opened their heavy noisy front door. It isn't just the way they hugged and doted and loved me, always, all the time. They had a culture. A culture that doesn't exist anymore.

When I was tiny they had parties. Parties from a long-gone time. Parties where everyone was dressed up and drinking and smoking and singing as Papa played songs familiar to them on the dark wood antique upright piano. They all knew the words and they laughed and they sang. Together. And I sat on the edge of the piano bench, swinging my legs and smiling and absorbing it and


singing along too.

Their way of living and being had tones of that long-gone time and it was graceful and respectable and I miss the way it felt to be around it.  You could feel it.  There is no way to replace it.

I miss those songs. And I miss the hugs and words and mannerisms and habits and I pretty much just miss all of it and all of them, every day, all the time.


  1. don't save this to draft. or that one or that one or the next one. You just write so beautifully and I know exactly what you mean every time. I feel a "me too" and I need that a lot in life.

    SO thank you and don't take you away :)

    This reminded me of the feeling of my grandparents. There is a time and place that is gone, in years and because they are gone. At least on the one side of my family, they are both gone. My Grandma is still here and I couldn't figure out how to describe being with her. Part of it is just HER, there's no one like her. But then there is also the way her history and the years in it can be felt in her house and in her face. And I want to go back there with her.


  2. What a beautiful post. I found out tonight that my Great Uncle Jack is going to hospice care. He is one of the few remaining folks of my grandparents' generation. I remember them having raucous card parties and sing-alongs too. They took trips together and were all best friends. It just broke my heart to hear that he won't be with us soon. At the time, when I was that kid with my legs swinging, I wish I'd known to appreciate it more. It was magic.

  3. This all is so you and what I know of you, it just comes out of you because it's a part of you.

    I tried commenting last week and don't think it went through and then I felt like it was my turn to try to email you and anyhow, here I am finally.


  4. I never had that kind of life but I miss it too. I miss it for you and I miss it being something that happened. I think parties were really important and I am sad that they have in a lot of ways fallen by the wayside.

  5. I heavily sighed after reading this, because I understand it so very perfectly. Love you.

  6. Your house and world has a strong flavor of this era. Maybe once you don't have such tiny little kids you'll have adult parties with punch and delights. Though, it won't be the same era because you are modern, too, but your world has a special flair, and your kids and your grandkids will cherish it, too.

  7. I will play the piano and you can sing those songs. We can embroider handkerchiefs and mail each other cards and pretend that we are half as good as our grandmothers.
    I feel this so deeply, though my grandparents are still alive. They met when my grandmother was throwing a dance party for soldiers. She was hanging decorations and fell off a ladder. My grandfather caught her. Boys don't catch falling girls anymore. The Air Force sent them to Italy and when I grew up she would brew us tea and give us Italian milk sodas and we'd watch My Fair Lady as we went through her jewelry box. She taught me to always use white linens and face cream and to buy my bread hot from the market each day.
    Like you, I can't help but miss something I never experienced. Life needs to teach me all those old card games, teach me how to always be a ladyand never outgrow my knobbly legs in knee highs.

  8. Oh Erin, I want in the club with you and Sarah Rosangela!

    I still have both of my grandparents on my mother's side, and we have always been a very close fammily. This weekend we celebrated my grandfathers 87th birthday. He's an amazing man, and it's a shame there are not more of him in the world. And my grandmother? There is nobody else like her. She's strong and soft and one hundred percent good people. They still keep their ever-shrinking garden, she still mows the lawn with a push mower while he mows the fields on his tractor. They are pure magic, like crisp air. And Erin, I so wish you would gather up your little bundles one day this spring or summer and come and visit them with me. That's a real invitation because it is. And because Indy isn't that far away. And I have lots of space for guests.

  9. I'm with you in feeling that way. It's especially hard at Christmas. I think of my Grandma's decorated living room. She always had scraggly trees strung with silver tinsel and huge lights with bubbles inside. She was fond of choral Christmas music recorded in the 30s and 40s---scratchy recordings of people with deep, round, velvety voices. Lying under her trees over the years, listening that music...it was heaven.

    Thanks for sharing the video, too. It was endlessly entertaining.

  10. Ever so often I have to come by and shake and poke your blog and maybe give it a little shove and see if you're really writing but it's just not coming to my Reader and if I try maybe I can coax another post out of it...

    I miss your words...

  11. terry and i just watched this 3 times in a row in bed together. i've never had such wonderful experiences like you described, and yet i still miss this era.