Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006

Memory Bingo

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006 12:12 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Kaleidoscope (purple & white))
I see the word "Bingo" and automatically think of my grandparents' basement. I'm not entirely sure why. A curve, a turn near my old home, a grassy spot with a sign announcing Bingo games at a local church reminded me of my grandmother, even though she lived too far away to have ever played there. She did take me to a Bingo game once, I think, though I don't remember details. Somehow though it reminds me of candy, the stacks and stacks of boxes and boxes of candy in my grandparents' basement. Upstairs in the dining room they kept scalloped glass jars full of M&Ms, both plain and peanut, but down in the basement was where they kept any kind of candy you could ever imagine seeing in a movie theater or in your sack at Halloween. They didn't give those candies out very often. Maybe they gave away candy like that at my grandmother's Bingo game, or maybe she gave some just to me for being good and well-behaved while they played their game. Maybe candy, boxes and boxes of candy, seemed like the perfect prize to a small child with a sweet tooth, so I couldn't imagine why anyone would ever want to win anything else when they played their games.

After my grandfather died (my grandmother had died a few years before), we survivors went through the basement to see what we wanted to use, what to count as inheritance, what to sell or give away. There wasn't very much candy left, if any. There were stacks and stacks of dried foods and canned foods, dehydrated green beans and dehydrated potatoes, "textured vegetable protein" and enough mix to make a swimming pool full of lime jello. We brought so much food out of the basement that neighbors were convinced my grandfather must have been a Mormon. He wasn't. My grandparents had simply done what they could to prepare for nuclear war, stocking their thick-walled basement with things they thought they'd need to survive.

I bet if they had had to live in the basement after some nuclear attack, they would have wished they'd stocked more candy.


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