In April 2010, as I made the turn from first to second trimester, our family took a trip across the country to Carmel, California to memorialize my grandmother, who had died six months earlier. She grew up in Los Angeles, and her mother (Bama Stimson) built a small cottage in Carmel in the 1950s. Even though Grandmother lived most of her adult life in Madison, Wisconsin, almost all her family is in California, and we were able to get together with many of her nieces and nephews and their families to remember her.
My parents, husband, son, and I all stayed in the cottage, which we call Blue Door, for a lovely week. We walked down to the beach every day, and soaked in the beauty of the California coast. As it turned out, it was our only quiet time with Halia, a time when I could rest and enjoy, free of the daily responsibilities of work, school, etc.
Some of Grandmother's nieces and nephews would jokingly call Blue Door "the museum" because Grandmother and her sister Mary wanted to keep things just the way their mother had arranged them. When I first started visiting Blue Door, it still had appliances from the 1950s and did feel a little like a time machine. Since then, inevitably, the fridge had to be replaced, and the living room and bedroom were tastefully redecorated. Nevertheless, the cottage still holds Bama Stimson's distinctive mark.
I was so aware of the mother-daughter relationship between Grandmother and Bama Stimson the whole time were were there, and also my connection to them and their connection to the baby growing within me. I was also so delighted to introduce Carmel to my older son, G. He knew Grandmother well, and was eager to soak in everything about her history and about this place she held dear. Being there by the Pacific Ocean felt timeless, without normal boundaries. It was a precious and poignant time.
Posing with my husband James and with my son in front of "Blue Door," Carmel, California. April 2010.
Day 5 of 31 ~ 1 Cheshvan 5774