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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Moments and Memories and Stories by Liz Flaherty #SmartGirlsReadRomance

My husband and I were talking about our paternal grandparents tonight. Neither of us remembers them well. My grandfather died when I was two, Grandma when I was seven. I was near the end of the line of her 20-some grandchildren and she was 77 when I was born. I remember where she sat in the living room and kitchen of the house that is still in our family. I remember that she drank her coffee from a cracked cup and that she wore her long white hair in a bun at the back of her head. I remember her funeral. 

Other than that, the only sharp memory I have of Grandma Shafer is the day I followed Dad into the kitchen and she looked past him at me and said, "What did you bring her for?"

I have no idea what she meant. Was she serious? Teasing? Just tired of kids being around every day of her life--first her nine and then the next generation? 

I laughed about it when Duane and I talked about it. "It doesn't matter," I said. "It didn't hurt or enhance my life."

"I think it does matter," he said, and I just shook my head. 

And yet 66 years later, I still remember where she sat, the sharp look on her face when she looked at me, stepping back behind my dad again. 

It didn't change my life in any way. Or did it? I know if I ever said words like this to my grands, they'd know I was kidding. They'd know I love them more than my life. That they are so much fun. I'm not sure I'd be so careful of that if I didn't remember Grandma's words.

It is moments like this that sometimes start stories for us, isn't it? The March girls bemoaning a sad and poor Christmas. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm riding on the coach with Mr. Cobb. Scarlett O'Hara deciding what dress to wear. In my own book, One More Summer, Dillon shows up 15 years late for the prom. 

I've been dreaming about the beginning of my next story. About a woman whose name I think is Maggie who inherits a cottage on a nondescript little lake. I don't have much yet, but the idea came with two words. Trilby died. 

Like the remembered words of my grandmother, those two don't matter. Except that they opened the previously sealed envelope of Chapter One. 

I'm so excited. 


  1. Yea! Always great when a new story idea hits you. Hope this one flushes itself out nicely for you. Those words and actions do stay with us, and unfortunately, the bad ones more than the good, at least in my case. But it's not the words themselves that matter it's what we do with them. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us!

    1. Thanks, Mary. I hope Trilby agrees (even though he's dead.) :-)

  2. Wow, what a poignant memory. Yeah, that one would stick. I have a memory about my Great-Uncle George that is similar to that one. I remember it so clearly, it could have happened yesterday, yet what I actually know about him wouldn't fill a paragraph. Can't wait for Maggie's story!

  3. What a wonderful post! I really like the way your next book spoke to you and the way you described it. Wishing you all the very best, Liz.

  4. Liz, I find this peek into your family fascinating, including that you and Duane would talk about your grandparents in this way. The people we spend time with, especially when young, really do shape us. And words have such an impact. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of this. I'm sure your grandkids feel the love from you! :)

  5. My dad's mom was a nasty little thing and my mom's mom was a treasure. So I feel your pain, but her nastiness did not affect me either. however grandma Ivy's love and gentleness did.

    1. Same situation here. My other grandma was a sweetheart.


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