The first time I saw the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married," a 1986 film with Kathleen Turner and Nicholas Cage, I cried at one scene. I have seen the movie once or twice since then, and that same scene still gets me.
For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, Peggy Sue faints at her 25th high school reunion and reawakens in her high school past with all of the knowledge of her adult life. The scene that never fails to get me takes place in the family kitchen. The phone rings, Peggy Sue answers it, and it is her grandmother. In Peggy Sue's adult world, her grandmother, who she adored, had died several years earlier.
Kathleen Turner plays the scene exquisitely. You see the love and pain cross her face as she realizes she is hearing her grandmother's voice again. She fights tears, her voice catches, and then she thrusts the phone at her mother because she is so overcome she cannot talk.
My grandmother Skatzes, "grandma Skatzes," was that beloved grandmother in my life. She had been dead some eight years when I first saw the scene in the movie. More than once, I have wished I could hear grandma's voice again.
Yesterday my mom came over for tea and talk. Halfway through the conversation, she asked me if I knew any way to convert cassette tapes to CD. She has no cassette player, none of the my brothers has a cassette player. Did I know what could be done? Sure, Warren can take them to OWU when the audio/visual department reopens after break and they'll do it.
I asked mom what was on the tapes, assuming it was music. She said "well, it's two full cassettes your uncle Buster did of Mom talking and telling stories. I've had them in a drawer for years."
I stared at my mom, dumbfounded. She's had two cassettes of grandma Skatzes "for years" and I am just now finding out? (I had previously known of the tapes, but had heard they had long disappeared.)
"Mom, I have a cassette player. Do you have the tapes with you?"
She did. A few minutes later we were listening to grandma telling a story about her grandfather. I couldn't understand all the words because she was so soft spoken, but I knew immediately the rise and fall of grandma's voice - an almost musical lilt she had that I remembered so well even all these years later.
My eyes filled with tears.
That evening, when Warren and I were out running errands, I started to tell him about the incident. I related the movie scene that had moved me so much so many years ago, and my voice choked up as if on cue. I then told him the wonder of hearing my grandma's voice again after so very many years, and my voice caught again.
The tapes are now on my desk, waiting to be converted. Mom and I listened for about five minutes yesterday. The longer I listened, the more I could understand grandma's words. I haven't turned them back on; I don't know if I am able yet to handle them except in the tiniest of doses. Even something as pure as joy occasionally needs to be meted out.
I have written before about grandma's love of Christmas. I find it somewhat more than coincidence that these tapes should appear at this time of year. It is a seasonal touch from her that I am blessed to receive, grateful to hear her voice one more time.