Project Emily Advent: Day 16

Project Emily Advent: Day 16

Describe a special memory with a grandparent.

My mom’s mom, we call her Grandie, has been taking me to see live performances for as long as I can remember. One of my first memories of seeing a musical on stage was at the Point theatre in Ingram, a magical outdoor theatre near where my mom grew up. The Wizard of Oz. I was absolutely enchanted with the story, my ruby slippers a treasured wardrobe staple of my girlhood. I specifically remember wanting to meet none other than the wicked witch after the performance, so moved was I by her talent and power. Wicked wouldn’t hit Broadway for many years to come, but a love for Elphaba was already growing. Grandie took me to many stage performances over the years. I remember seeing one local production that was a celebration of African American music throughout the years. It started with traditional African dance, large groups of women performing spiritual songs of the enslaved, before moving on to jazz and modern music. I remember a very compelling performance of Aretha Franklin’s Respect. Grandie bought me three of the performers’ CDs after the show. We saw a lot of ballet together. Grandie was a dancer, and continued to dance in her adulthood.

When I was a senior in high school, I bought Grandie tickets to see the Moscow Ballet perform the Nutcracker in San Antonio a couple of days after Christmas. It felt incredible to be able to give back to her something that she’d given me consistently for years. I surprised her with the tickets and she surprised me by making an entire event of it. She booked a room at a recently renovated boutique hotel in a historic building downtown. We drove into the city early in the day and walked around downtown. Grandie took a photo of me standing in front of a busy street. I’m wearing my favorite navy blue corduroy pants, a long sleeved navy blue and white striped shirt, my blonde hair long and straight. This was a time I was trying desperately to dress like Audrey Hepburn, and I am proud to say that I succeeded. It’s still one of my favorite photos of myself.

Before the show, we ate a very fancy dinner at Bohanan’s across the street from the theatre. I ate steak and seafood and I wore a black dress and I felt impossibly grown-up. Grandie was really good at making me feel grown-up. She still is. I don’t really remember that much from the ballet. I’ve seen the Nutcracker many times, and I’m sure they all blur together in my memory now. But I remember how being with Grandie made me feel. Special. Something.

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