Virginia explored…

"Virginia"
"Virginia"

This is my in-class Comparison of the two versions from a Memoir class 2002:

This new version, from my grandmother’s point of view, has a very different tone. I hear longing and disappointment (I miss Helen so. Raise ‘em up and they up and leave). She is excited when we arrive but it turns to disappointment when my mom and her brother wander off to shoot. She is not the main attraction here for Helen. She loves her grandkids but that’s for granted. What she really wants is her own family back, her life, her place in it. In this version I see that she was hurt and disappointed that my mom was gone all day and she wouldn’t get time to visit. She took it out on me when I slammed the screen door.

Little details I described as heavenly in the first version—cedar smelling sheets, the creek, grandma’s cooking—are merely her life and she is bored with it.

This version upsets me. It mentions my mother’s drinking and that while grandma was concerned about its effect on us, she felt helpless. And I can relate to grandma’s loneliness and emptiness living in the family home with no family.

I miss the happiness I feel in the first exercise toward my grandma, my delight at being somewhere else for the weekend. I miss the vivid descriptions of food (love) that must have seemed routine to her and possibly laborious.

The first version is a child’s view, I feel like grandma’s house is safe and stable and loving. The second shows that it’s not stable, she’s frustrated and resentful and some of her seemingly loving attentions are rote (seven kids later). That makes me sad.

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2 thoughts on “Virginia explored…

  1. Diana,

    This is a great exercise, and you’ve written both experiences beautifully. It tells two sides to a story. We all know there are always two sides, but we rarely have the opportunity to see through both sets of eyes, or feel from both hearts.

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