15 April 2009

My Circus Train

Sometimes when you love something very much, you hang on a little too tightly. This is one of those stories.

My maternal grandma was a very creative person. She painted, sewed, and made all kinds of beautiful things. When I was a little girl, Grandma made me a circus train. She painstakingly traced and cut giraffes, tigers, bears, and elephants from construction paper and adorned them them with fabric, sequins and glitter. Over time, she made enough circus animals to extend all around the cement walls of our basement. Whenever I played there, I was surrounded by Grandma's amazingly detailed creations.

When my parents decided to put up paneling in our basement, they told me that the circus train needed to be taken down. But I couldn't imagine moving it, and I begged them to leave it in place. I believed that if I left the circus train behind the paneling, it would be preserved forever.

So my parents did as I requested. They put up the paneling right over my circus train. And even though I could no longer see it, I was happy knowing that my circus train was still there in the basement, right where it belonged.

Then, as often happens, I grew up and realized the error of my ways. I was sorry I'd asked my parents to panel over the circus train. I wanted to be able to see it and touch it again. Just thinking about the circus train made me sad. I knew that after all those years behind the paneling, the beautiful animals and wagons had surely disintegrated. I felt like I had lost an important part of my childhood, something handmade by my grandma just for me.

A few years ago, my grandma passed away and as we were cleaning out her house, Mom and I happened upon a dark green folder. Inside it were 25 elephants, animal patterns carefully drawn on tracing paper, and partially constructed circus wagons. Imagine my delight! Grandma had created extra circus train pieces and had saved them for me.

I told my mom how much I regretted asking them to panel over my circus train all those years ago. Then to my great surprise, she replied, "We didn't do it. We knew you'd change your mind some day, so we took it down and saved it for you." That was my mom. She sometimes knew me better than I knew myself.

I never got my circus train from my mom before she passed away last year, but I know that it's tucked away safely somewhere in my parents' house. I'll find it someday, when it's time for me to look for it.

For now, I have the green folder filled with elephants and circus wagons and girls on tightropes. It feels good to hold the pieces in my hands. It feels like home. It reminds me that I was loved.

15 comments:

Heather said...

What a treasure! And how great that your parents took down the train and put it up for you! :)

Laura said...

awww! how sweet of your parents! what a neat, happy story. :)

Debbie H said...

Your story made me teary eyed, so sweet of you to share, brings memories of my grandma back.

Deb H
Alvaton, KY

Fonda said...

Oh Janet, I have no words, or actually too many words. I love your story and am glad you have these beautiful treasures. Thanks for sharing!
My paternal Grandmother died during this week in 1986 and your words have caught me off guard. It makes me want to find the few things I have of hers and hold them close.

julie said...

Sniff, Sniff. What a great story. I am soooo sentimental on some of those special treasures as well so I can so relate to this. Thanks for a heart whelming story Janet...

Debbie said...

Those are beautiful pieces! And what an amazing Mom and Grandma you had.

Janet said...

Thank you, everyone. I did indeed have an amazing grandma and mom. :-) I was (and am) a lucky girl.

Kristina said...

Awesome find!

Darcey said...

Wow! That must have taken your Grandma some time! Very nice surprise to find.

Sarah C. said...

Janet, I have tears in my eyes. What a beautiful memory and special connection to your mom & grandmother. Those few pieces you have from the green folder are amazing. I can only begin to imagine what special treasures are stashed away for you at your parents' home. Definitely clear where your creative talent comes from. :)

Katie said...

I love this story...Katie

toners said...

Oh Janet, what a super story and great post. It's these little things that make us feel loved, just like you said :) You're a lucky lady :)

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Awww! I have shivers now! Or maybe it's just cold in here...but that is a seriously sweet story and a great telling. I was thinking that the ending was going to be that you pulled up the paneling!

Linda said...

What a great story! The elephants are so pretty. I'm glad that you have those treasures.

Cheri said...

Teary-eyed here too...what an amazing, creative woman...and what amazing, understanding people your parents were!

For me it's my aunt Edrie...my great-aunt, but functioned as my maternal grandmother who died before I was born. I cherish and hoard every little thing I have that was either hers or given to me by her.