Do you ever have a flash on someone from your past? I do – my Grandma – my dad’s mother. Maria Ojeda Holguin Ford. We were driving down a street near where I live the other day and (I cannot recall what) something triggered it – her smell – her always sweet, warm, special unique smell. It wafted by me in an instant and was gone. When it happens, I know she is still with me – always.
I remember her house in Monterey Hills in Los Angeles – high up on a ridge that overlooked the city. It was a beautiful Spanish-style house – pink adobe and a dark red tile shingle roof. It had a detached garage with a studio apartment over it – and a tiled courtyard between the garage and the house.
I don’t remember the bedrooms, but I do remember the huge sunken living room that faced the front of the house with amazing deep green wall to wall carpet, heavy overstuffed furniture and elegant heavy drapery. At the back end of the living room, two steps took you into the large dining room with dark hardwood floors and a huge dining room table.
Swinging wooden doors lead to a massive kitchen with a dinette set. I remember the smells of Mexican food – always beans – and daily home-made flour tortillas.
I remember staying with her over one Christmas break when I was about ten years old – it was heavenly. She was so sweet and kind – so loving. My grandfather owned a manufacturing plant – JC Ford Mfg Co – that made the first (or very early) automated tortilla making machines back in the 1950’s. I remember him as always matter of fact and distant – cold.
The one thing that is always in my memory is cuddling with her on the overstuffed couch in the evening , sharing hot chocolate. Simple nothings – just cuddly warm time together. I think it was the only time I ever actually stayed with her as it was normally my parents and I passing through town and visiting.
I never saw her again – she died a few months after that – took her own life with an overdose of medication.
I learned later that she was a very lonely woman – my grandfather gave her a life of near luxury but never his time. I have always felt great sadness for her – not only for her death, but for the reason.
But I know she loved me – she tells me every so often.