Three stories about moonlight

My father's father and mother were young and newly married. He was still a med student; she was working to support him and they didn't have much money, but they needed a car and so had just bought their first. It was some shade of not-quite-pink (coral?) and had a glass top. They decided quite spontaneously to visit her parents for dinner that night, a few hours away. After dinner, they packed up all the leftovers to take with them so they wouldn't have to buy groceries for another week or so, and on their way back they watched the full moon rise through the roof of their car.

The grandmother of the boy who told this story to an auditorium of us his peers. She, like him, was born deaf, and in her time that meant you got taken away to a boarding school where you were forbidden to use sign language. But when the moon was bright enough, the girls in the dormitory would creep from their beds at night and sit in a circle by the windows signing to each other by its light. Once they were caught. She made it back to her bed in time, but a friend of hers didn't. She watched a school administrator strike her friend so hard that she fell and hit her head, and they took her away with her head bleeding. She didn't see her again.

When my sisters and I were little, our parents' fail-safe way to soothe us if we got upset too close to bedtime was to fold us up into a ball and wrap a down blanket around us, and then fold that up in their arms and carry us on a slow walk around the block in the dark. I remember the feeling of night air on my face when my cheeks had been hot and sticky from crying. My dad says he'd point to the moon to distract us and we'd talk about where it was in its phases. Sometimes my older sister needed to come too, and I could look up ahead through the quiet and see her in the other parent's arms in the next streetlight.


Q 7/11/2011 5:51 PM  

Not about the moon, but one time my dad was in D.C. and got lost, and navigated by the stars to find his way back.

Dawn 7/12/2011 12:20 AM  

nothing more beautiful than watching the full moon rise

thanks for sharing, made me smile :)

Noël De Vries 7/12/2011 6:59 AM  

walking in the sand by the Adriatic and watching the full moon rise over the water and the city peninsula, silhouettes of families wading in the dark, clustered around wheelbarrows filled with coals and topped with grates, roasting ears of corn, wishing desperately for my camera, and then making a photograph in my mind, deliberately, for the first time, like I told you about at the baths.

odessa 7/12/2011 9:13 AM  

oh, i'm in love with this post. that story of the deaf girls signing under the moonlight is so beautiful -- minus the hitting part, of course.

Carl 7/12/2011 10:19 AM  

Three very sweet stories (except, of course, for the administrator's actions in #2)

annelise 7/13/2011 5:21 AM  

This is one of the loveliest posts I've read in a long time (obviously, the girl getting whacked over the head is not so lovely, but the beginning of the story is). I am storing your parents' idea of moonlight walks in my mind for when I have children.

Jenica 7/13/2011 1:08 PM  

I only wish I'd read this by moonlight.
I wasn't expecting the ending of horrible.

Holly 7/14/2011 12:18 AM  

Noel - Hmm I'd forgotten the coals. I like it even better. Hard to imagine such warmth that you could swim in the ocean at night comfortably.

annelise and Jenica - Yes...I could not forget that story. I wish you could have heard her grandson tell it instead -- a lot more powerful that she could finally have her story told in the language of her culture, to a crowd of hearing folks, even.

(And Annelise...thanks for dropping by. :)

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  © Blogger templates Brooklyn by 2008

Back to TOP