WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Have you ever wanted to escape from your past?  From the faults and character qualities of your family that you didn’t like or admire?  We always sort of disowned my dad’s mom. I never even think of her very often, but when I saw this picture from Sethsnap, I escaped back to my childhood, and remembered my Grandma Tressie Lee.

Seth invited us to write something about the picture, so I escaped into the picture for about a half an hour or so.  You can do the same. The colors reminded me of my father’s mother.   I’m afraid I wasn’t very complimentary, but the picture was just SO HER!  Sorry Grandma.  “Bless your little heart.”

Flat lander's house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusky, like the colors in my grandmother’s duster, the baggy dress that she wore every day I ever saw her.

Every day, she donned a different dress, the same dusky colors, large floral prints, barren of interest,

Her personality lost in folds of fabric.

Smiling her pink plaster smile at my hopeful upturned look, never dusting in her duster,

Every surface always spotless, wiped clean of every evidence of life.

After I finished with the colors the picture just kept talking.  I went with it escaping from today back into yesteryear.

Sparse and windblown, like Grandma’s graying thin brown hair,

Each permed curl standing out at an odd angle from her scalp like the spindly, lone tree bending away from  earth’s scalp.

Cold, like the feeling I had after staying with Grandma for an obligatory day or two.

Even the clouds are stretched to their limit of endurance,

Color seeping from them leaving them dusky, dim and dull, the day’s promise drawn away by the wind.

One can almost feel a storm brewing.

Boxy house shaped, square, clean, and boring.

Grandma and her little square house with shiny hardwood floors covered with a million throw rugs,

Rugs that tripped Grandpa as he scratched from room to room with his walker.

Outside red roses grew on the trellis, a spot of unexpected beauty against the white frame wall.

This photo – the look of my paternal Grandma.

I’m afraid that in my tiny family we all joked about my poor Grandma who was such a complainer, and probably misunderstood.  She blamed her lack of education on her older sister.  She never “gradgiated” from third grade.  I have no idea how Aunt Hazel, who was actually quite delightful, could have prevented young Tressie Lee from going to fourth grade, but apparently she did, and was never forgiven.

Mom hosted every family reunion for Dad’s family because Grandma complained so much.   She bragged that she only cleaned house after company left because they would mess the house up anyway.  Tressie Lee always knew months ahead of time when she was going to be sick – whenever there was a family gathering scheduled at HER house.

I'm sure Grandma had this painting!  :)
I’m sure Grandma had this painting! 🙂

Grandma did like some things.  She painted at least 50 paint by number paintings – mostly dusky flowers.  They hung framed all over her pale lavender walls right over one of many pastel bouquets of plastic flowers.  I used to paint with her.  I actually enjoyed it, but keep in mind I am not the creative one in my family.  She taught me to like spinach and kale.  I’m sure that’s a good thing!  I also learned from her NOT to put my hand in the garbage disposal when it was turned on.  My other grandmas were not wealthy enough to have a garbage disposal.

She loved to sew.  She would make herself a new duster, and stand on the dining room table so Grandpa could pin the hem in for her.  Then she would fall off her Duncan Fife table.  She never broke anything – not even the table.  I laughed at this until I got to be about 40.  Then I fell off a table in the school cafeteria full of after-school students watching me put up a bulletin board.  Once I fell as I was just STANDING under a tree waiting to go into a museum.  One minute I was upright, the next on I was flat on the ground.  No explanation – Grandma, did you trip me?

Oral-Roberts-9460242-1-402

She also loved to watch Oral Roberts and Billy Graham on TV.  I remember asking her one time if she was Jesus!  I have no idea what prompted me to ask that.  I was a preschooler, and they say the “darndest” things, but I distinctly remember that my childish question did not please her.  Maybe I thought I would, but I knew I had said something terribly wrong by the time she got finished with me.

billy_graham

She had bunions and aching toenails, and complained of them day and night.

Bunions

She groaned so much that when my brother got old enough began to imitate her whining voice. “OH my aching toenails!” he’d wail in a wavery falsetto voice.  Then my mother’s dad would answer him saying the same thing.  By the time we were teens it was our signature telephone greeting.  In oour best Grandma T. voice we’d moan, “heLLLLLLLLLooooooooww????  Oooooooooh my aching toenails.”  Soon all our teenage friends were doing it too.  This was not nice, but keep in mind that Grandma lived 2400 miles away and never called, so it’s unlikely that it disturbed her.  However, one day my dad called, and I answered in our typical pre-voicemail whine.  I believe that both Randy and I got in trouble for that even though I wouldn’t be surprised if Dad started talking that way also.

I think I’m sorry that I made fun of Grandma, but we escaped the hum-drum of our everyday life, and had a lot of fun at her expense.

Dad once said I was so much like her, and Mom defended my character.  I’m not sure he was convinced.  I wanted to escape that accusation!  I couldn’t see any truth to it, but the genes are there even though I pretended all through my life that somehow HER genes never made it into the mix.  However, I have to admit that my toenails do ache sometimes, and once in a while I like to watch tv.  I did escape to a prayer breakfast a couple of weeks ago in which Bill Graham, Franklin’s son, Billy Graham’s grandson spoke.  I felt like Grandma would be proud, though she would never have ventured out of her home to see and hear him.

The picture below was taken at my parents’ wedding.  Grandma wasn’t wearing her typical colors in this picture.

Grandma stood 4'10" tall
Grandma stood 4’10” tall  Don’t they look happy????  Grandpa just wanted to escape!  Where were their glasses.  They had escaped somewhere, too!  🙂

So did you have any family characters in your family, or have you escaped the reality of life and everyone in YOUR family is/was just perfectly amazing?

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, author, blogger and retired teacher/consultant. Read more about me here. http://wp.me/P7tP3I-2

68 thoughts on “WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape”

  1. This is the first thing I am reading this morning. I am up in the middle of the night and can’t sleep so turn on the computer. Marsha, sometimes I don’t read all your things………because sometimes they are long and I just don’t like reading more than a few lines of anything. But I am laughing till the tears are coming. I am even going to go back and read this piece again. It is sad but funny. You haven’t told us anything new. We all had a grandma or great aunt or neighbor like that. But the way you told it you captured the very essence of ……. IT. I loved IT… is all I can say.

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    1. OH MEME! Thank you! You’re back. I haven’t read anything of yours for a while because you were quitting, and so I stayed away. Now you are back! I’m so excited! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read. I know I am a little wordy! Some things are interesting to some and some to others. I’m just glad we’re friends! 🙂

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  2. You are a brilliant writer MVBF Marsha. You will have to give up coal mining and take up writing full time 😉 I’m impressed !! Ralph xox 😀

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          1. It is “my laying on a bit thick” week, this week. Autumn Jade has totally fallen in love with me for calling her SWEET which I picked up from your comments. As far as being your mascara I will keep an eye on that thought 😉

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    1. It’s nothing like your tribute and loving words about your aunt and her singing. 🙂 My words are sort of mean, but we were sort of mean ABOUT poor Grandma. In our defense, we were not mean TO her. She just took herself pretty seriously! 🙂

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          1. You do have to be careful about that sort of thing. But in this case, my aunt’s long gone, and she bullied her only daughter into giving up every man who was ever interested in her by threatening suicide, so that aunt has no descendants. (She really was horrible). I’m just waiting for the right project.

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          2. ooooooh she sounds perfectly horrible. Let me know when you start. I can fill you in with some character details for another character. I’m not sure you could write anything horrible, though. I’ve only heard witty and charming coming out of your fingertips. hmmm a new side of Naomi. 🙂

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          3. She was horrible, Marsha. But I still wouldn’t do it just to do. It would have to serve a purpose. In general, I believe that good words cost no more than bad. But in a novel, you can cloak your truth and say what you have to say–not just a truth about a person’s character, but one about life, and I would hope it might help someone in understanding his or her own life. (And also, I’d like it to be a darn good read.)

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  3. What a funny post, Marsha – I laughed all the way through it (sorry to your grandma for laughing at her!) She certainly sounds like a she was a character and we all have them in our families. I had a great aunt who sounds like she may be related (LOL) 😀

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  4. Phenomenal writing, that descriptive narrative is so vivid and tangible to the sense, it comes alive!! Wonderful writing!! Powerful piece, I really loved this, WELL DONE!

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      1. Lass…none of that is wicked. I did far worse….From the time I could draw, I began depicting the grandparents in a very bad way…let us say, there was one of them spilling off a cliff during a thunder-storm, both of them in coffins with glass lids so you could see their faces, spilling into the depths of flames below with terrible fiends awaiting them with outstretched arms below. That was one of the first ones I did. There were others, even worse.

        Then, when I was 12, some years later, my mum came warbling home and announced that she got an art show set up for me at the library. Do you think I chose delightful paintings of tigers and deer and birds and sharks only? Oh no. I was very keen on showing the work I’d done depicting my grandparents because I thought it was fantastic and HAD to be shown to the whole town. I did not know the whole town really did go to that library. The best pieces I had placed in the adult section downstairs. My mum’s mother was not too thrilled, I was later informed. Of course, I wasn’t thinking of them when I put up the work, I was only focused on the actual art itself. I loved it, thought it was great. They were oddly some of my best pieces. The nicer paintings of animals were upstairs for the children to see, although there were earlier pieces depicting the grandparents mixed in up there too 😉

        So, my dear delightful lassie, YOU are NOT wicked!

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        1. The good news is that you didn’t have the grandparents in the children’s section. I hope you did not put names on your pictures. Poor Grandma! Whatever did they do to cause such wrath to come down on them through your drawings. BTW you would love Dianne Gray’s book Soul’s Child. I mean, really love it. Like you should read it tonight! 🙂

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          1. I must obtain the book!!

            It just made me happy to draw them in such tormenting situations. No I never put their names on my art. I also did not go around thinking of them that way when I wasn’t in posession of art supplies. (they did do some painful things that very negatively-affected my brother, up into the present, that may have inspired a wee bit of the artistic depictions)

            And there WERE pictures of them in the children’s section, just more cartoonised and less scary, computer art versions of them.

            Now you MUST be completely elucidated. The idea of me being a “sweet” anything must be completely vanquished by now!

            I am dolphinitely going to snag Dianne Gray’s “Soul Child” most indubitably, thank you for the recommendation!

            -ajade

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          2. Me art was a bit on the spooky and apprehensive side. Often, I would directly tap into the subconscious, drawing from a liminal state- never knew what it was going to be when I began, and it usually was a bit disturbing (or to me gorgeous!) when I was finished. I imagine to someone looking at it, perhaps it would seem like I was expressing hatred and wishes of ill-will, but that is not so. I never perched in some dark corner to brood with terrible hateful thoughts about my grandparents, and then scribbled out terrible drawings born of bitterness, hatred, revenge. I never felt that way. And when I was doing art, I felt exactly the same when I working on some violent, rather edgy piece as I did when I was drawing something rather harmless, like a deerie.

            I knew they were just drawings, and often suspected that the agony and pain I was depicting was often how either one might have felt deep within every day of their lives…and that greatly saddened me. Not only were there depictions of direct violence, I also did portraits of contorted and tormented faces, and then faces hardened and calcified over time, after years and years of depravity, imprisoned with deeply engrained sickened-thinking, elderly imaginary faces that were redolent of my grandparents. I was trying to figure out what fuels such behaviour, what it does to someone….why it continues, how they can continue to function in society, etc. This exploration turned into delving deep into the topic off the library shelves and for a long time I wanted to be a criminologist.

            I don’t think it is even possible for me to feel hatred or bitterness. But I just wanted to understand, and I needed an outlet, and there was art. I had no control over some terrible things that happened, but in my art world, I could take back some of that lost control, and the best part was that it deepened my ability to feel compassion. Of course, I have rather quit art now and my love for the sea and sharks has overtaken the wish to study criminal behaviour.

            Now this is exactly why I need to drink lime-water BEFORE typing grand flippant corn-fessions to you! I have frightened you now. I may be a brute, but I don’t like scaring people, just asserting that I am merely a brute. All right…it IS fun to scare them a little sometimes!

            I am excited about the book. I have been wanting to read some of Dianne Gray’s work for a quite a while. Will look into getting it, thank you very much dear lass!

            Autumn Jade

            (P.S. Oh drat, I am sorry, it looks like I droned on and on again here. That is IT. I’m determined to shorten these things up!)

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      2. My dear lass, I just returned from some lime-water, just going out the door to kiss the sea, and I realised I really DID just corn-fess all that to you. Oh bother….well at least their names were never mentioned in the work. *shakes head dolefully* the vile beast of an aquatic baboon will now decant into the shadowy twilight, to dissolve into the blue Sea awaiting…ta la

        Autumn Jade

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          1. Did you know that I often swim with sheepshead fish, and they have very human-like teeth?? They are tremendously CUTE and quite friendly. I’ve hovered amongst the coquina with them for hours. They will lumber right up to my glassy goggles to admire the reflection of those very gorgeous teeth.

            Grand! Have to check that out!

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          2. Did you know there is this fellow in South Africa that free-dives with white sharks? He has studied their behaviour for years and has even gotten in the water to film them in full-hunting mode, going after seals, which can be very risky if you do not know much about sharks and when it is time to get out. Stunning. He is wonderful, and so are my precious sharkies!!!

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          3. You’re a “sharp” woman, Autty! 🙂 I’ve got to go to bed. My next post will wait. It’s not about anything biting anyway, so…BORING, right? 🙂 Love up much, nite nite, Ms. AJF 🙂

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  5. Oh hullo, I seem to be back again.

    I think I would have liked having this grannie! My maternal ones were…well, psychopathic is the best word. The females are still alive and healthy without complaint. One is constantly buying diamonds and playing bridge. Last I checked in with the other one, she was attending college. She used to be a scientist for a while. That would be Sir’s mother. I’m not very familiar with Sir’s parents (though I do notice from photos his father looked rather….disturbing), but his mother IS a character of sorts. None of them ever had physical issues, apart from the maternal grandfather eventually becoming paralysed over time from an injury sustained during the war in the Navy…ahem…he uh….fell….down a flight of stairs….in fact, he was often falling, said “Hit the deck” quite often, and RIGHT moving on. Sir’s mother certainly LOVES to blather on and….on…and on…YES let us move on from that too.

    Yes, I think I have babbled just a bit too much…

    Loved this read. Fantastic entry!

    SmilingToad

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  6. Brilliant post, Marsha. I did have a jolly good laugh at your Gran’s expense. I’m sure every family has at least one relative they would gladly disown. As the saying goes, “You can choose your friends, but your family, you’re stuck with.” (Or words to that effect.) 😆

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    1. Yes, we are related, aren’t we? I am like my grandma in that I haven’t broken anything. I did end up with a bad sprain once when I twisted my ankle in a parking lot. Fortunately and unfortunately there was no one around very close to see me fall. There was a man on the other side of the parking lot, and believe me, I was thinking horrible thoughts about him not coming over to help me even though he probably couldn’t even see me! When I finally got over feeling sick to my stomach and being mad at the stranger, I hobbled to the car and drove home. The next day I went the doctor and he gave me a splint ant told me to wear it for 3 months. I did, and it still hurt a bit, but nothing was broken and I healed! 🙂

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