Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Tale of Years, 4: 1983

Grandma & Grandpa Mathews live on Belfast Road, in a low blue house hidden by trees. It's not properly in the woods -- behind this low blue house is someone else's house, and a barn that sometimes houses a horse -- but it feels like a very Ohio home all the same, with its own yard and hills and valleys and a spring that runs nearby.

It is where my mom spent much of her own childhood. There is no bathroom in this house. It was  chicken coop before it was a home for humans, when there was also a barn and a farmhouse on the property. Those two burned down under mysterious circumstances, with a black sheep uncle inside, with Mom and the Mathews family proper out of town. This is prehistory, and unclear.

Grandpa Eldritch Louis Mathews is a man on the couch. He has big black boots that I liken to Frankenstein's. There is a line of action of figures that Mom occasionally buys for me from Rinky Dink's, figures the same size as Star Wars guys. I have Dracula, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Frankenstein. When I see Grandpa Mathews lying on the couch, waylaid from a head injury that is decades old, I think of Frankenstein and his boots. I do not think Grandpa is Frankenstein. I just think Frankenstein reminds me of Grandpa.

What I think is, I think my Grandpa is Jesus Christ.

Let me explain.
Fount from which I sprang.
There is a painting, or a print of a painting, hanging in the living room of the Mathews home. It is a Peter Bianchi Jesus, probably gotten from a grocery store in the 1950s or little bit later, but when I see this picture, coming from a lack of religion as I do, I say to myself, Why would Grandma have a painting of a man in her house if it wasn't Grandpa? Therefore, Jesus is Grandpa as a much younger man.

(Another time, at Ma's, I have a vision of Han Solo in my head. I imagine this is what God looks like. Young, virile, a man to be followed. I ask Ma if God has a gun that he shoots that is full of water, and when he shoots it, that is rain. Ma is angry. She tells me God does not shoot guns.)

There is a birthday party for Grandpa Mathews. There is a cake in a pink cardboard box. There are party hats and I wear my best Superman shirt. I am adjusting my party hat and the elastic band snaps back at me, hitting me in the nose and beneath my eyes.

Eldritch Mathews, Jeff Mathews, Matthew Jent.
It hurts, and I cry, but not so much that I don't want to put a party hat back on. It's a party hat! I am not going to be the only one not wearing a party hat.

No comments: