Cara has always hated her middle name. It is Violet. She was named after her Great Grandma Vi. No one else that she knew had such an old fashioned name, and 'The Incredibles' could have made her feel a lot better, but unfortunately that movie came along just a wee bit too late for that. Cara was already grown and resigned to her fate as an unfortunately named woman.
Grandma Violet died last month, a woman in her late 90s. I am a short person, but Grandma Violet stood a full head shorter than me. She was a person of immense energy, a worker, a farm woman. She was pleased with me from the very beginning of my relationship with her grandson, and she never missed an opportunity to praise. She was pleased with my garden. She loved that I canned. She loved that I could cook up a storm, and she loved that I took such good care of her grandson and of her great grandchildren. The things that she loved best about me were, ironically, the very things that my husband hated about me the most. The other corporate wives were not like me at all. Those differences made him ashamed to take me to corporate functions. For her part, Grandma never stopped writing me, even after the marriage fell apart, but by the time that her grandson remarried, her memory was getting shakey. She had the unfortunate tendency to call his new wife 'Debby', and this upset the new wife something awful. Grandma could not help it, and I began to feel as if my letters to her were complicating matters. She got rheumatoid arthritis and could no longer write. Finally our contact just sort of dwindled off. The only news I received about her was through the kids.
I heard that she had passed about a week after she was gone. Cara told me. "It's hard to believe that Grandma Violet is gone," she remarked. "Well, it happens to all of us." Cara said, "Somehow, she had lived so long that you just got the idea that maybe she might have been forgotten. Like maybe she would live forever." I laughed. "No," I said. "It does not matter how good you are, nobody on this earth will live forever.
I walked down to my woods last month and dug up some violets, some purple ones and some yellow ones. It is my intention to ask Mr. M if I can dig a clump of his white violets to add to the planter. The violets always remind me of Grandma. When Cara was last home, she saw them and said, "I'd like to have a planter like that." I thought that she was missing her greatgrandma, and I thought of a bowl that I have that would be perfect for a planter. I said nothing, so as to surprise her later. As we were scouring the second hand stores, she mentioned that she would like a ceramic teapot, one with violets on it. She also mentioned that she thought that it would be cool, what with her name and all.
I couldn't help but stare. I guess that some names have to be 'grown into'.