Monday, November 29, 2010

mister bluebird on my shoulder

ive been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for a week now, especially this weekend trying to not sleep at the theatre and taking on props duties, lugging myself and tons of stuff back and forth from OP, and you have prolly noticed that i havent had time to write much at all during this time. i have, however, found moments to notice things i want to write about, and one of those moments was yesterday as i gathered my plethora of bags off the window seat in my parents dining room and looked up at the window for a second. and there on the windowpane was the bluebird. i quick took a picture of it so i wouldnt forget to tell you about it(so many things jumbled in my head these days i forget at least 5 of them at a time).
its not much, just a blue glass bird to sit in a windowsill and have the sun glint off of. but it used to live on the windowsill in my grandma's nursing home room, and tho mom doesnt remember its existence before that, i am almost positive grandma had it in the kitchen in the house on pine street in seymour, indiana. this is the house my grandma and grandpa fox had built when they got married and then raised my mother in. its the house that we went to visit grandma in where there were always cookies in the cookie jar and little bottles of coke in the fridge and all the other joys of being at grandma's. i could draw a floorplan of this house, i could reconstruct every room, the feeling of each one, why i loved being there. the skeleton key that locked the basement door, the chinese checkers board in the front hall closet, the marble hearth in front of the fireplace where we used to burn pine cones dipped in chemicals that would flare green and red and blue, the lamps, the tables, the pictures on the wall (one was my mom's first communion glam shot), the tall antique bed i slept in, the cut glass bowls in the dining room cabinet, the turquoise ceramic fixtures in the upstairs bathroom. i remember the games we played with the central heating ducts in our bedrooms, being taught how to sew in the living room, listening to bing crosby's christmas album on the record player in the attic bedroom, playing croquet on the big grassy lot next to the house, rollerskating in the concrete basement, thanksgiving dinner around her table which always had homemade noodles in broth and white gravy for the turkey and a birthday cake for her when nov 23rd fell on a thursday.
the oddest thing about grandmas house was the fact that she had a blue and green kitchen with blue and green carpet. yep. carpet in the kitchen. i never understood. they must have redone it in the 60's or something. the colors were loud and the patterns on the floor and walls were big and busy. there were owls on the walls as big as my head in royal blue and sea green. but then there was this beautiful little bluebird. i think he lived on the window above the sink, the one you look out of while doing the dishes. right near the little ceramic dish grandma put her rings in so she wouldnt lose them in the dishwater. i always loved this little bird who looked so sweet set against the green of summer, the gold of fall or the white of winter out the window. i have no idea where she got him originally, but he was always there watching over all of us as grandma made dinner or dessert or poured iced tea (just a little sweet) or opened cokes (coke was a big thing at grandmas house). and seeing him on a windowsill reminds me of all those wonderful times.

i still have a hard time with the fact that our family doesnt own that house anymore. grandma sold it when she moved into the nursing home in '91, but she took bluebird with her. i remember when we went to visit her in her new room, and i saw him on the window there too, so glad that at least one thing still felt like grandmas house in this sterile place she had moved. it ended up being a great thing for her, she had never learned to drive so she was so much closer to the action at the nursing home, having people to eat with all the time, just having to walk down the hall for the nightly cut-throat euchre game. but bluebird was a reminder of the old house, the happy times we shared there, and the love that my grandma steeped each brick and board and inch of space in during the 50+ years she lived there. now that my grandma has passed away bluebird lives on the dining room window at my parents house, next to the wall with the picture of grandma's house as it was back in the day. seeing him sitting there still brings back the feeling of well-being that always engulfed me in that house and being around grandma generally, the feeling of being loved so very much and that love being manifested in the food i was fed, made by her hands.
creating this feeling is something my mother is incredibly good at as well. admittedly, she had the best teacher ever. seeing that little window-sitting bluebird yesterday, knowing the little cub, alex fox vanek, was coming over for dinner with the family, and witnessing mom make tomato sauce and chocolate pie in preparation, i was made aware of how beautifully the tradition is being passed down. and even though i was too busy with the show to be there at the table with them, maybe alex saw mr. bluebird and had that same feeling of well-being which meant that both grandma fox and ray van fox were there in spirit.

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