Thursday, January 05, 2006
I just read Sean's
Pike's Peak post, and it got me thinking.
Recently, our family lost my grandmother. A lot of people would point to this as where I finally lost touch with my family. I was grieving in my own way, which was to let people know I had made peace with her death some time before it happened, and that I felt it was a natural and beautiful thing for her to finally be dying. They, of course, thought I should cry and carry on, as if my hurt was theirs to own. I am still, as you can see, bitter about that, so I don't really want to write about it. I only keep the above because I don't like to delete.
The real reason I was thinking about this, in connection with Sean's post, was something that reminded me of Her, as Pike's Peak did for Sean. A couple weeks ago I was sent a package. Inside was my Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle costume.
We had NO money growing up. I mean, nothing. So we had to rely on my grandmother for Halloween costumes. Lucky for us, she was crafty, and resourceful. I had, bar none, the best costumes in town, and the turtle costume was proof.
We lived near a theme park, Mission Creek 1892 theme park, to be exact, and though they struggled until they closed, we thought it was the greatest thing. Because my stepfather was taking photos there (and selling drugs, I would later come to find out) we got in for free. A whole theme park to roam around in was worth more than gold to an 8 year old, let me tell you. And an old west one with guns! That was heaven. Sometime I will tell everyone how those guns got me in a world of trouble, and an ass whoppin, old west tool shed style, but for now, I want to focus on this.
They had several contests there. I remember a bubble gum bubble blowing contest, where all the kids got free bubble yum. There was a "futuristic" arcade with high scores and prizes. But the granddaddy of them all was when the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles (on tour) were doing a stage show there. Everyone was to dress up like a turtle, and the Turtles themselves would judge the contest! HOLY SHIT. I HAD to have a costume.
My grandmother had already been working on the TMNTs. She made all four of them for me, crochet, and I thought they were the coolest things. Later, she would make a Michelangelo for me, over 4 feet tall. I honestly wish I still had that, it was truly a one of a kind. Sadly, I beat the hell out of it, as a little boy is want to do. So she had the basic idea for the costume, and all she needed was to watch countless hours of the show with me. Of course, she had so much talent she only had to look at a picture to replicate it, but it was one of the few times we got to spend time together. A grandmother and her grandson have very little in common in this world. (Later, I would find out I had more in common with her than any other relative: hard headedness, always right, loud, life of the party, and funny, without ever getting a laugh ;))
The costume was made, and I went to the show. EVERYONE else had store bought costumes. They all looked the EXACT SAME. That means plastic shell, plastic mask, and fake weapons. Maybe some green tights. Not me. I had a fully padded, muscled, top to bottom three fingered gloves included costume. It was so real someone asked me if I was in the show. No joke. It was awesome. At the time, though, I sort of felt bad for myself. All the other kids had store bought costumes. I felt out of place and dumb. Until the contest. It wasn't even close. I won by a landslide. I think the other kids all knew it, too, because half of them didn't;t even want to line up. But that wasn't the cool part.
My grandma let me be in the spotlight. Everyone asked who made the costume, and I was all too happy to point it out. But she, usually very open and brash, just smiled and deferred to me. It was my day.
When I got that package I almost cried. I didn't cry for her when she died, and I haven't since. But that costume was so much a part of who we were I had to feel it. It is so real.
I get it, Froyd, and I am sorry.