Grandma's List

Candy Spilman By Candy Spilman, 20th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

After the passing of a loved one, one of the first things the family must do is go through the deceased's possessions. One never knows what sort of treasures may be found during such an endeavor.

Grandma's List

Several nights ago, my grandma died in her sleep at the age of eighty eight. The funeral was held yesterday, and now practical matters, such as going through her things, must take place. Since I am currently between jobs, I was elected by the rest of the family to begin the process.

It felt so wrong to be approaching Grandma’s front door with a key in my hand. No matter how often her well-meaning relatives chided her, she never locked her door. Upon entering the house, I was immediately assailed by ghosts from the past – memories of sleepovers on her living room floor with my cousins; being curled up on her sofa (or divan, as she always called it) reading the confession magazines that I was not allowed to peruse at home; the smell of Pine-Sol; the jar of devil’s food cookies that she loved and so much more. My eyes began to mist.

I decided to start with her desk, in case there were debts or other pertinent issues that needed attention. Grandma’s desk was semi-organized, and it was easy to locate bank statements, bills and the like, which I sorted into piles. I began to go through drawers. The top drawer contained pens, paper clips, rubber bands, scraps of paper and a birthday card for a granddaughter which had not yet been filled out. My sister Sarah’s birthday was in about a month; I figured the card must have been intended for her.

The bottom two drawers contained Grandma’s treasures. There were homemade cards, notes, drawings and pages from coloring books, as well as standard greeting cards and letters stuffed inside. With a bittersweet smile, I found a few things I had made for her over the years. I sat on the floor and pulled the drawers out, making it easier to access all the items within. As I sorted through Grandma’s memorabilia, I pulled out a sheet of stationery that had been folded over once. Thinking it was a note from someone, I opened it and began to read. Much to my surprise, it was a list, written in Grandma’s spidery, shaky handwriting:

Dogs I Have Lost
1. Skipper
2. Corky
3. Blackie
4. Molly
5. Noodle
6. Rascal

I stared at the piece of lavender paper in amazement. As far back as I could remember, my grandma had never had a dog. I didn’t even know she liked dogs. So who were Skipper, Corky and the others, and when had she had them? Why had she never mentioned them? How had she lost each of them? Did they die? Run away? Or maybe she was forced to give them up? I remembered an old photograph I had once seen of her when she was about thirteen. She had been wearing a pink dress. I pictured that young girl with her arms around a boxer or a black and white mutt, or maybe a tiny Chihuahua. Perhaps some of the dogs existed when she was a young bride, or when her children were growing up. I would have to ask my mom if there was ever a dog in the house during her childhood.

My curiosity was piqued. Grandma had never mentioned any of these dogs, but she had cared enough about them to create a written record of their existence. Obviously this documentation had meant something to her. I stood up and stretched. Slowly shaking my head, I folded the paper a couple more times and slid it into a compartment in my wallet, where this little piece of Grandma would be kept and cherished.


Death, Dogs, Family, Granddaughter, Grandma, Grandmother, List, Loss

Meet the author

author avatar Candy Spilman
Former journalist turned freelancer. I'm a mom and grandma and love to write about family or Christian topics.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Well lets just make sure you don't rake up your grandmothers' bones. Men are called dog too aren't they goes well with bitch??
I prefer calling them foxes with their tails in front.
Well leave the dogs alone, they were not meant to be discovered by the grand-daughter any way.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Just giving you a clue and no insult to character here.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Rather sad actually that she did not talk of these dogs, they must have been very loved.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
25th Mar 2014 (#)

When Grandma died last year, we took up the task of emptying her house, splitting up her possessions -- as well as the things she was holding in trust for us -- and making many practical and impractical decisions.
Now, since I have just moved, I am planning to cull many of my possessions in a yard sale. Some things will be hers. My mother said she'd take anything I didn't want and store it at her house. But how can I tell her that I don't want it to just be stored until the day SHE dies and I must clear out HER house? If it is an item of functional value (even a toy), it should be serving that purpose.
But about the list of dogs -- perhaps you'll come across pictures with dogs and then you might know? Or maybe there is a family friend, a living relative who might be able to solve the mystery?
Please accept my wish for peace for you, and I hope the process goes as smoothly as it can for you. Best,

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