“That girl was like a pretty little red bird. She was interesting to watch from a distance, but she always seemed so fragile that I was afraid to get too close to her.” Graham’s mother on Odessa.
Yesterday I received a visit from a very special guest from the other side. Amalie’s grandmother came through and I spent most of the morning listening to her and enjoying her presence. I knew that she knew about Dess and Amalie, but I had no idea she had such a presence in Amalie’s life.
She was introduced to Dess and Amalie the day after Mother’s Day in 1970. He took them to meet her for lunch and she knew right away that little dark haired baby was her granddaughter. Her husband had passed away the day Amalie was born that previous September, and that baby filled a void in her heart.
She said Amalie was her favorite grandchild because that baby came along when she was almost the proper age to be a grandmother. She was also able to spend more time with Amalie since she wasn’t working and only lived about thirty minutes away. He used to bring Amalie over to her house and leave her there, sometimes for a whole week. That suited her and Amalie just fine, as they would tend to her garden, cook together, and then little Amalie would often be the one to read her bedtime stories.
Amalie called her Grammy. For the most part, Amalie was a quiet and passive baby, but when she got fussy on those lunches it was always Grammy she reached out for. Her daddy always said from the day Amalie was born that she reminded him of her mother. Maybe that’s why she was Grammy’s favorite.
She told me that she didn’t really know Odessa that well. The times she came around, Dess was always real polite and all, but she never said much and clung to Graham like she was afraid he was going to take off and leave her. She says, “that girl ate like a bird too, always picking at her food. Often times Graham ate more off her plate than she did.”
This one time when Amalie was probably about 6-7 she called Graham one morning and told him she saw a rattlesnake out by her garden and he needed to come kill it. He told her he was busy and would just send Dess to get it. Here’s her account: “I thought he was plum crazy sending that skinny little thing out to kill a snake, but she went on out in the backyard and just sat there and waited for that snake to crawl on up in her lap. The snake went right up to her, like it heard her calling it. She held onto that snake just like it was a cute little kitten and then went and took it on home with her. Graham said her people was Pentecostals so I reckon she got her loving of snakes from that. I was just glad I didn’t have to take a hoe to it, because that was one big mean looking snake.”
When I asked her about the whole situation with her son basically leading a double life, she told me that none of it was Amalie’s fault, and it was her she felt bad for in “that whole mess”. Amalie never wanted for anything financially, but with Dess being so “peculiar” (I like that she used that word to describe Odessa) and Amalie’s daddy not living there with her, that she thought Amalie was lacking some in love and attention.
She never once judged her son for any of it. It was obvious that he was her favorite child and he always made sure that she was well taken care of. She felt bad for him, because she said he loved both of them, Odessa and his wife, and never meant for it to wind up the way it did. She mentioned how he “just lit up” when Dess was there with him and talked about how much she liked to see “that pretty dimpled smile of his”.
She was very vocal about how wrong she thought it was that Amalie wasn’t included in any part of her father’s funeral. She understood why Dess wasn’t there, but Amalie had “just as much right to be there as that boy of his”. It was only after the funeral that she “ever let on” to her daughter-in-law that she knew about Odessa and Amalie. She only did it them because she wanted to make sure that Amalie was taken care of financially. She was the one who made sure the money from the sell of the house went to Amalie.
The last time she saw Amalie was on Christmas 1984. She went and got Amalie and took her home with her that night. Amalie told her about her mom giving the ultimatum and said either way she was going to NC to stay with her aunt. Amalie was all heartbroken about some boy she’d had a crush on and seemed like she was looking forward to moving away from him. Grammy had no idea that the boy was actually a man or his identity.
She said her biggest regret is not finding out about Amalie “being in trouble” and she wishes she would have known because “I would have driven up there to NC and brought Amalie home to live with me. I’d have helped her with them babies and loved all of them no matter what”. She knew plenty about being young and pregnant and how hard and scary that was. She was only 15 herself, when she’d had her first baby and then she’d wound up with three boys to take care of before she was 20.
This was one of the most intense channeling sessions I’d ever experienced. It left me so exhausted that I slept most of the afternoon. I am just extremely grateful that she decided to come through to me and share her opinions. She seemed like an amazing lady who made the best with what she had and loved her son and granddaughter something fierce.