treasure #1

on occasion i'd like to highlight something special to me ... especially as i go through all of my things during this long decluttering process, i'm bound to come across a long-lost treasure or a treasure i have to toss out. so i'm going to document some stuff here.

my first treasure is something i probably won't be able to get rid of for awhile longer. it was a gift from my maternal grandmother when i started playing the violin back when i was 11 or so. it's a small figurine made out of wood (i think), measuring 3-1/2 inches tall. it used to sit on top of the upright piano in my parents' living room and it looked down on me as i practiced the violin everyday.

i loved my obaa-chan ('grandma' in japanese) so much. she lived in kobe and i visited her every summer from the age of three until i was a sophomore in high school. i spent at least 2 months out of the year with her and my ojii-chan (grandpa). and i visited them numerous times after that. needless to say, i was very close to them. they also spoiled me rotten because i was their first grandchild and i lived so far away. but that doesn't mean they didn't help to raise me properly -- they scolded me when i was bad, praised me when i accomplished something, comforted me when i cried, and taught me so much.

i think my obaa-chan gave me this angel so that she could watch over me, cheesy as that sounds. i know she loved me and wanted to be there for me always. but the distance kept us apart for most of the year, and i think she gave me stuff so that i would have reminders of her everywhere i looked.

and i can't say that, as a child, i understood or appreciated that very much. as you can see from the picture, the angel's fingers are broken, the bow is missing, and the violin neck broke off. it fell off the piano countless times and it never hurt me when a part of the angel broke. it was like, "oh, well." and that was it. it had no emotional meaning to me. but now i look at it and i always think of my obaa-chan and how much we loved each other.

my obaa-chan passed away after a long battle with cancer when i was a junior in college. i miss her so much, and my mom and i talk about how sad it is that she never got to meet her great-grandson. she would've loved him so much ...

[side note 1: as much as i love my obaa-chan, she was a crazy lady. no question about that. in fact, from what my mom tells me, she was probably a pretty crappy mother. but there's something about a grandchild that changes a person, i think (i see that with my mom, too). and she continues to be an incredibly special person to me. she taught me how to eat corn on the cob, but that's another story for another day.]

[side note 2: i don't really see the angel as a reminder of my violin playing days. i sucked at playing the violin ... and the piano, for that matter. i'm just not musically inclined, i guess. i played the violin for five years and i was horrible. i never learned the scales, all of the pieces sounded scratchy, and it was, honestly, a huge waste of time. my poor parents shelled out lots of money they really didn't have so i could have private lessons and i appreciate that. my mom drove me every week to my lessons, endured the horrible sounds coming from that instrument, listened to my lying ("uh, sure i practiced."), and had to pay money for the wonderful experience! sorry mom & dad. but at least i appreciate listening to good music!]


grudge girl said...

This just brought tears to my eyes. I miss my grandmother all the time. You wrote about her in such an honest, loving way.

And you're completely right about grandparenthood changing people. My dad was a vaguely scary, distant, read-the-paper, old school dad. Never changed a diaper in his life. Now he babysits Charlotte and Simon when I teach, and sits on the floor and plays with them, and feeds them breakfast, and all that stuff. It has helped me to forgive him for a lot of things.

Cheers! What a great idea for an ongoing theme! Both as a writing exercise, and as a meaningful diary entry. I love your treasure. I don't think you should EVER get rid of her. She's precious.

Also: another weird similarity, girl. I played violin. And piano. I took it into college, where I was initially an opera major/piano minor, but still. 11 years old I was starting out, just like you, practicing over at the piano.

hobokener said...

Nice post. Nice to hear about your family. That's very sweet.

yucaree said...

thanks for the nice words about this post. i currently have the angel near my computer desk, so i gaze at her everyday and i just couldn't help but write about her. i'm planning to also scrapbook about her and some other items my grandmother gave me. there's so much i want to say about my obaa-chan that i know i should write down for my children, who never got to know her.

grudge girl: it's getting weirder and weirder how similar we are! although, clearly, your musical talent was far superior to mine if you were a opera major/piano minor! did you change to become an english major?