( Intermediate Level )
There are those moments where something, whether it be a particular song or a smell or even something you see, triggers a memory. This is exactly what happened to Charlotte.
She sat down for a quick bowl of soup before she returned to her work online. As she opened the can she realized it was alphabet soup. She remembers how she loved eating this soup when she was young. She smiled and popped into the microwave.
In today’s world, many companies have adopted the hybrid way and the employees can choose which days to work from home and those to work at the actual office. Mondays and Fridays are the days she chose to stay home. This gave her what she felt was an extended weekend each week of the month.
The microwave beeped, as the soup finished heating and she sat down lost in her memories of her childhood.
Both of Charlotte’s parents worked so she spent her days at her grandmother’s until she was old enough to go to school. Grandpa was gone now and her mother thought it would be wonderful for both of them to have each other’s company.
“Charlotte, it’s lunchtime. Come and have a bowl of soup with me. Do you want crackers with your soup?” her grandmother asked as she poured Charlotte a glass of milk.
“If you put crackers in my soup then the letters get lost. How can I spell words with you?”
“I guess you are right. Let’s see how many words we can spell before we finish our soup. If I remember, I have the most words!” Her grandmother responded, egging her granddaughter to do her best.
Her grandmother discovered she could buy dried alphabet noodles and pre – cooked them then add them to anything. She remembered that, one time, grandma added these letters to the gravy that was poured over the mashed potatoes.
“Oh, Grandma! You are the best!”
This was how it was for years. It wasn’t until Charlotte was older that she realized that this was her grandmother’s clever idea to get her granddaughter to eat all her meals.
As time passed, Grandma had more difficulty in everything. Her movements slowed and her ability to think of words decreased. Charlotte remembers she was about ten or twelve when she noticed this.
She mentioned it to her dad one evening while they were having their dinner, and he responded,” She is sixty- four now. This happens when we get older. Just try to help her as much as you can.”
The following Monday, Charlotte remembers going to grandma’s after school until her parents came to pick her up. Grandma had already had their snack ready.
She prepared their traditional alphabet soup and a half of a cheese sandwich. Her father’s words resonated in the back of her mind, “Help her as much as you can.” She sat down and started the conversation.
“Grandma, I have a big spelling test coming up this week at school. Can you help me study for this? Maybe we can find the letters in our soup!”
“Of course ,I can. What are your words?”
She remembers going to her backpack and pulling out her spelling workbook. She sat back down and started thumbing through to chapter six. “Here they are grandma,” as she slid the workbook across the table to her.
“Ok, Here is your first word, attractive.“
“A – t – t – r – a – c- t – i – v – e” Charlotte moved aside vegetables, with her spoon until she found all the letters she needed.
“Very good. Here is another, admire.”
Again, Charlotte found all the letters within her soup. A – d – m – i – r – e. Her grandmother smiled at her.
“What does admire mean?”
I am not quite sure but I know I admire you grandma!”
“Well thank you. Now eat up a little before your soup gets cold.” Charlotte ate, leaving her letters on one side of her bowl.
“I am worried about you.”
“What on earth for?”
“Sometimes you forget things and sometimes I notice you have trouble walking.”
“Oh, my dear Charlotte. This happens to all of us when growing older. It is a reminder to us, who are older, to enjoy each day and not to be in a rush.”
“Will this happen to me too?”
“Maybe. It is normal. No need to worry about your old grandmother. I have you to keep me active and keep my mind sharp.” Her grandmother gave her a huge smile and a wink.
They continued eating and going through each of Charlotte’s spelling words. Her grandmother squashed all concerns that Charlotte had about her through her explanation.
Charlotte heard her cell phone ring, which startled her. She realized her whole lunch break was about over. She was so deep in her childhood memories and the alphabet soup.
“Hello.” as she answered her cell. “Hi Char, It’s mom. We are planning on going to Grandma’s house for the holiday. Do you think you can get away from work to come with us? She would love to see you.”
Charlotte’s parents relocated to another city a few years ago due to a promotion her father received within his company. Once Charlotte graduated from college, she too moved to the same city as her parents and secured her current job.
“ Sure, I have some time owed to me. I just need to make sure it is ok with my boss.”
“Great, we will be leaving on Friday night after your dad gets home. See if you can book a flight on the same plane as us.” They exchanged information on the flight and hung up with each other.
It was time for Charlotte to return to her work. She logged back into her computer and quickly sent her boss a message asking if she could take a few days off. He agreed to let her have off on Friday and the following Monday.
“Great! Thank you. My parents and I will go to my grandmother’s. I haven’t seen her in maybe eight or nine years. Once I went away to college I became too busy in my life.” she said in her message back to him.
She quickly made her reservation for the flight and then texted her mom that everything was a go for Friday. She knew she would have to pack tonight since tomorrow would be a very busy day at work.
The flight was pleasant. Each of them had carry – on luggage only. It was a quick ninety -minute journey. Arrangements were made for a rental car to be waiting for once they arrived.
With luck and not a lot of traffic they would arrive at a decent hour. Grandma was a night owl but dad was not fond of driving when it got dark. She smiles as she thinks about her grandmother’s words,” It is a normal part of getting older.”
As they arrived, her grandmother greeted them on the porch,” Well look who is here. Charlotte. Oh my, how you became such a beautiful young lady. Charlotte smiled and gave her grandma a hug.
“I know grandma, It has been a long time and I am sorry. It doesn’t mean I haven’t thought of you.”
” I know dear. We all get busy sometimes. Now let’s get inside and I made a snack for us. They do not give you enough to eat on those flights to fill you up. ” ‘
After suitcases were put in the extra bedrooms they entered the kitchen to see her grandmother busy setting out bowls and spoons. on the table.
She set a large bowl in the center of the table. Alphabet soup. Charlotte looked up to see her grandmother returning the look. She smiled sheepishly and winked at her granddaughter.
After all these years of separation, it was as if nothing had changed. They talked and talked. Catching up with each other.
“Grandma, look,” Charlotte spoke in a childlike voice. In her spoon she had found all the letters to spell A – D – M – I – R – E. Her grandmother’s eyes softened as she read the word.
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Thoughts From Angel:
Memories are very precious for me. If I had to chose between keeping old memories or making new ones, I would always say, “I would rather keep the old memories.”
I have so many memories growing up ,of those who I loved and now they are gone, that I want to hold onto. These memories remind me of where I came from and it is because of them made me the person I am today.
If you would like to support what I do “Buy me a coffee”
triggers – verb: cause (an event or situation) to happen
adopted – verb: choose to take up, follow, or use
hybrid – adjective: mixed or combined
egging – verb: urge or encourage someone
clever – adjective: intelligence
decreased -verb: smaller
resonated -verb: reverberating sound, hearing over and over again
thumbing through – phrasal verb: to turn page(s) quickly
attractive – adjective: appealing to look at
admire – verb: regard (an object, quality, or person) with respect or warm approval
squashed – adjective: to stop or softened
startled – adjective: sudden shock or alarm
fond – adjective: having an affection or liking for something or someone
sheepishly – adverb: having a sneaky way, mischievous
childlike – adjective: qualities associated with a child
Question ( s ):
Have you ever experienced a memory triggered by a smell? A song?
Do you have a favorite childhood memory of someone you were very close to, like a grandparent?