Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

What I hold on to.

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It was Mrs. Bergstrom, our first grade teacher, who asked us to write down the names of our family members. Including our grandparents. We were six years old. I was surprised that within this handful of years, most of my friends hadn’t learned their actual names. They wrote down things like gramma, or grammy. I wrote Elsie. Grandma Elsie.

It had only taken one visit to Jerry’s Jack and Jill, the small grocery store that sold the coconut marshmallows that my grandma liked, to be certain of her name. Before we walked through the door, the man arranging the carts outside the store, waved and said, “Hi Elsie!”  Inside, the woman behind the thick glasses at the first register said, “Oh, Hi Elsie!” 

It was somewhere in the first aisle that I knew she was not just my grandmother, but a woman of this town, of this world. And her name was Elsie. I was proud of her. So proud I wasn’t even annoyed at the amount of time it took to fill the cart. She had to stop and visit every few feet. Exchange a recipe. Report on the “kids.” Ask about an illness. Offer her prayers. Listen to the butcher’s joke. Repeat it as her own and laugh in aisle three. Eat some marshmallows from the yet-to-be-paid-for plastic sack. Introduce me as Ivy’s youngest around each corner. The cart was filled along with my heart.

I knew, that in knowing her name, I was a part of it all — a part of her. I was a part of this Elsie, this Ivy, and I belonged.

We said our long goodbyes in true Minnesota fashion, and followed the cart man out to my grandma’s car. He put the bags in the back. Tapped his hand twice on the roof of the car, to signify the shopping experience was complete. “You take care now, Elsie,” he said. And I knew that she would. Especially of me.

We drove with the windows open back to the farm. I knew the way by heart. I knew this life by name.

Author: jodihills

I am an author and an artist, originally from the US, now living, loving and creating in the south of France. I show my fine art throught the US and Europe, and sell my books, art and images throughout the world.

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