Mippy began to tell me the story about the rose. I listened with focused intensity as she began to weave a tapestry of life, love, hope, despair and loss.
“When I was your age, I was fresh out of high school, just like you,” she said. “There was no money for college so I had my sights set on getting a job at the Telephone Company. They paid well and although I had no experience, I was hired based on my perfect attendance record in school.”
I interrupted and said “you never missed a day of school?” She smiled and said “not one. I went through all twelve grades with perfect attendance.”
I said “I never knew that Mippy.” She smiled again and said “there are many things about me that you don’t know.”
She looked at the rose and continued.
“I walked up town to work every day. One day, Just as I was about to cross the street, I saw a man leaning against a telephone pole. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen.”
She laughed when she said “I was staring at him so hard that I didn’t even realize I was walking out in front of a Taxicab. When the driver blew his horn, it startled me. I stumbled and fell down. This man…this beautiful man, came running over to help me.”
“For us,” she said, “it was love at first sight. We had what you would call a whirlwind romance…a fairy tale romance…a romance for the ages romance. We were crazy in love.”
“Mippy!” I said. “You are waxing nostalgic! I’ve never heard you talk this way before.”
I was still being mindful of what mama had told me years ago…to not mention my grandpa to Mippy, but I wanted to hear more.
Mippy stared at the rose and said “his name was Joseph Unwin Sinclair. His people were Danish immigrants who had come here generations ago, for their taste of the great American dream.”
It was at that moment, I realized that Joseph Unwin Sinclair was my grandpa. The grandpa I had never known. The grandpa no one ever spoke of. The grandpa that mama didn’t want me to ask Mippy about.
She laughed and said “I called him Jus and he called me ‘Maggie for Margaret’.” She laughed again and I could see a twinkle in her eye as she said “he always called me ‘Maggie for Margaret’.”
Her voice trailed off and I could see such pain in her face. I asked if she wanted to continue or if she wanted to talk about it later.
She said, “I’m fine dear. Sometimes, reminiscing about the past makes one so very happy and so very sad at the same time, but the story of the rose needs to be told.”
She reached into her apron pocket and took out a ring. It was a simple, gold band. I had never seen her wear it. I didn’t even know she had it. As she gently put it on the proper finger of her left hand, she said “six weeks after we met that day in the street, we got married.”
Her eyes began to tear up when she said “How I loved him. How I loved him so dearly.”
Suddenly she said “oh!”
A petal fell from the rose and rested gently on the table and I watched as she carefully picked it up and placed it in the little pink bowl.
To be continued_______________________