LOCKED IN: A Stream of Consciousness Account
Travis E. (Donald) Finch 1933 or ‘34
What will happen at the final hour? What change came over one who was free – cute – noticed – privileged – loved – and admired? From her heart, she speaks as she thinks she remembers it. At that time, she felt herself a part of everything – absolutely needed, essential to even the daily existence of others, enjoying attentions – never exactly having to show off to get it – but really showing off just for pleasure at times – and being unduly stubborn – noisy – and different at times, just – well – just to express a feeling – just to stimulate life.
If she were scolded – for naughtiness – (nobody ever was naughty but her) she did not worry too much – because she says that although she never knew it then – but she had come to accept things – knowing that she could find someone to run to (Grandma) if the going got rough – at least she always had before. Daddy never scolded much – Mamma scolded always but was careful also to wipe tears – correct faults and explain – oh, explain why scolding had to come.
And Grandma – well – long before she ever remembered – or further back than her mind traveled – she had become a fixed love and idol in Grandma’s heart – Just like the rainbow follows rain, like a bee follows a rose – or like thunder follows lightning – so, in need – she always found Grandma’s arms. Grandma always was understanding – can’t really say Grandma was an extra and wonderful gift – certainly not more than is absolutely necessary for a little girl – somehow – seemed like Grandma was a natural, a necessity like the skin over the body – belonged there. Who would think of not having skin, or a Grandma?
Then – well – then came a time early in her life – when there was no Grandma – only now and then – and needless to say, when Grandma chanced to visit. Grandma – not the little girl – but Grandma – was almost always her side companion – there when she stepped on a grass burr – there when she mashed her finger – there when she stepped on a rusty nail – and even cried ‘cause the little girl hurt so badly. Who ever cried before when she hurt – no one – she supposed – no, not even when she accidently stepped into a bed of red hot coals and was burned – oh so severely. No, Mama knew it hurt – she doctored it tenderly – but she had to add – You would not have had a burn like this if you had minded your Mama – and Daddy – well – It is hard to remember. He said very little – got a box to make a tent to keep the covers off her foot – got medicine, etc. and reminded Mama – “Don’t scold her. She hurts.” Grandma sent moccasins, house shoes, dolls, and pretty hair ribbons to show her love.
Then a few years later, there was no Grandma – no Grandma. She had died suddenly – she was Mama’s Mama too, yet Mama even dared to say – now and in the weeks that followed – “Guess if Grandma hadn’t died before you got any older – no telling what would have become of you. She almost, or even did, ruin you anyway.”
Then and only then did the little girl suddenly – really and truly – wish Grandma had not died when she did.