I remember Great-Great-Grandma Moses was ninety years older than my brother and me.
Ninety years older, down to the very day, in fact.
I remember she’d been born the same year as J. Edgar Hoover, as Buster Keaton, as Jack Dempsey and as Babe Ruth, and although she did not know any of those people (so far as I know she didn’t, anyway), it made me feel somehow connected to them to know her.
Connected to the past. To history.
I introduced my Great-Great-Grandma Moses, born in the same year that Friedrich Engels died, to the music of Nirvana, and we went to see Jurassic Park together and then made jokes all the way home about how she had seen real dinosaurs in her day.
I remember that when I knew Great-Great-Grandma Moses, she was living at my great-grandparents’ house. When I say “living,” I mean that she kept her stuff there and occasionally stopped by for a few hours to eat or to sleep.
I remember she would disappear for weeks on end and then pop up completely unannounced, sauntering in the door like some Time Lord back from exploring all space and time. Even then, you did not know whether she planned to stay for dinner until she took off her wig and shook it out.
The wig-shaking. This would be the sign that she was going to stay for a little while.
I remember that my Great-Great-Grandma Moses’ room was notable for only two reasons. First, she had three enormous console televisions – you know, the old kind that were like real wooden furniture but took five minutes to warm up? – and at 11 am, when she was home, she’d switch on all three at the same time so she could catch up on her “stories.”
Her “stories,” of course, were soap operas, and they aired on all three networks all day long back in those days. I remember that Great-Great-Grandma Moses did not have TV remotes for any of her televisions, and that she’d stand there in front of the three enormous consoles, turning the volume of each up or down by hand as she detected something important happening on the screen.
I remember that Great-Great-Grandma Moses would do this for four hours a day.
The second notable thing about Great-Great-Grandma Moses’ room was the newspapers. And no, it’s not what you might think, these were not newspapers with some historical value, not items from her childhood or from places she visited in her mysterious intermittent travels. No, these were “Weekly World News” and other junk rags from the check-out aisle of the local grocery store, announcing Satan’s return to Earth or the capture of Bigfoot (again).
I never saw my great-great grandma reading any of these papers, but there were always piles of them in her room and they were always the very latest issues.
“Demon Boy Found in Cave in Brazil!”
“Earth Caught in Crossfire of Thousand-Year Intergalactic War!”
“Marilyn Monroe Alive and Well and in Indonesia!”
These were incredibly exciting stories to a nine-year old. Or to a ninety-nine-year old, apparently, as the case might be.
I remember these newspapers were always best right around New Year’s, because that’s when they’d publish their predictions for the upcoming year. Prophesies of Jesus Christ’s return in April. Of Armageddon in May. Of Nostradamus proved correct yet again in June and of Madonna giving birth to Josef Stalin’s love child in July. (I know: That timeline seems off to me, too. I mean, Madonna is still around two months after Armageddon?)
I remember I always wanted to keep track of these newspaper predictions to see what their accuracy rate was, but… I was only nine when Great-Great-Grandma Moses disappeared, and nine-year olds don’t plan that far ahead.
We never knew what had happened to Great-Great-Grandma Moses. One day, she simply stopped coming back to my great-grandparents’ house. We left her room just the way it was when she disappeared, changed the sheets on the bed every week and kept the latest issue of “Weekly World News” on the nightstand.
But she never came back and we never heard from her again.
We never heard from her again, that is, until this past Sunday night.
That’s the night Great-Great-Grandma Moses – one hundred and seventeen years old by my calculations and not looking a day over one-oh-five – came bounding in the door of the flophouse where I currently stay.
She walked in.
She looked around.
She took off her wig and she shook it out.
Then she dropped the latest issue of “Weekly World News” on a coffee table, grabbed a remote control, and flipped over to something called the Soap Opera Channel, which I had not previously even known existed.
This past Sunday night, my Great-Great-Grandma Moses caught up on her stories.
Then she left.
But here is the thing, and it’s the only reason I am bothering to tell you about all of this Great-Great-Grandma Moses business at all: When she left the flophouse this past Sunday night, Great-Great-Grandma Moses forgot left behind her latest issue of “Weekly World News.”
It was the special year-end issue with predictions and prophesies for the next twelve months, and this is what the big headline across the top read:
“NOSTRADAMUS FOR 2013: KATY GETS HER KIDS BACK!”
Yes, you heard it here first, folks, and if you doubt that headline, well, then you might as well kick my one hundred seventeen year old great-great-grandma in the gut.
2013 will be the year I get my kids back.
2013 will be the year I get my kids back.
I feel it is only right that I give them the opportunity to remember their own Great-Great-Great-Grandma Moses stories someday. So let’s get going on this thing, shall we? We’re already fourteen hours in and I am growing impatient…