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Keeping in touch

We have a bond that holds us in each other's orbit as strong as the one which holds the planets in their courses. This little nymph flits as a sprite, swoops as a swallow, bounces like a rubber ball and darts like a butterfly ("le papillon,"m she says) and seldom lights any longer.

It's eight in the morning and the telephone rings. "Grandma, are you up, I didn't want to wake you, I didn't want to get you up, that wouldn't be nice. Are you dressed? I am. Have you had your breakfast? I have. I have to go now."

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I usually have a call at noon and the cheery voice tells me the latest event, or "Grandma, whose turn is it, is it my turn to sleep over?"

She will arrive with the popcorn pot and the popcorn with explicit directions on how it is to be made and then she pops upstairs to watch the "tube" and await the arrival of the bowl. "The evening continues with much chatter from her directions, then a little bravado when she sleeps in a separate room with the flashlight on her chest.

Sometimes I have an unexpected call when Amy is at the shopping mall, and since she is quite bored she would like to pass the time of day.

"What are you doing, Grandma?" "I was reading, Amy." "Oh, I hope I didn't bother you. Guess where I am. I'm at Bayshore and David's getting his hair cut." And more about the business of the telephone connection. "I couldn't reach where you put the money in but Mom did that and I dialed. Oh, there's kids all over, and mothers and fathers."

Sometimes an urgent business will separate us on the phone and the plea not to hang up needs assurance. "Don't hang up -- you stay there, I'll be right back," as the phone bounces on its cord. I can hear it bumping, and a voice in the background calling, "Don't go away."

When Amy was little the telephone meant a physical as well as an oral connection. "I've got chocolate cake -- here, smell it, can you smell it?"

The telephone was always a fascination and she soon learned the numbers that gave her the connection to her friends -- usually adults. Her father's secretary (his "secondary," as she called her), or a new secretary or friend were quickly included in her selections.

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When she comes for a visit the brothers are called immediately she arrives, and the "Put Dad on, let me speak to Mom." And the rest of the family has a turn as though the separation had been much longer than the mere space of 10 minutes.

Sometimes a panic alarm comes through, "Grandma, can you come right over -- I'm all alone -- no, Mom's not here doesn't leave you alone." "Well, she's not -- can you come?" And then Mother steps in from the garage.

Recently Grandma took a trip and there was greatly rejoicing at her return. But it was fleeting as other matters drew Amy's attention. Then she would come back to see if I were still there -- a reassurance that things hadn't really changed. She came into the chair and stetched out her body to feel my presence and said quietly, "I missed you," and off again to some other attraction.

Another fleeting moment together occurred as we watched her favorite program, when she leaned against me again so that all of her physical being could touch me and remarked, "You were gong a long time -- what did you see -- I thought you weren't coming back." When I admitted that she was missed too, that I often had to look at her picture to say hello and was glad to be with her again, the bond had another knot in it and was tightened as the mutual feeling was expressed. The soft arm was across myu shoulder with a momentary sweet affirmation of affection and off she flitted to another important matter just at hand.

Pardon me, the phone is ringing.

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