For as long as I can remember I haven't been able to sleep well at night. Sometimes I find a pattern and sleep from 8 to 2 AM, if I'm lucky. I've taken sleeping pills, but they never help. I read on some website somewhere a synopsis of a scientific paper that suggested my inability to sleep normal hours could be due to a genetic disorder. To me, this seemed to be the best explanation because my mother and grandmother seemed to struggle from the same problems as I have.
When I was 19-20 I spent a lot of time between my apartment, my two jobs, and my grandmother's house. (Mothers' mother.) She was 81-82 years old at that time, but she would get up after midnight and make us a kettle of black coffee. I'd sit on the floor next to the radiator which was awkwardly positioned in a short tiny space between her tiny kitchen and equally tiny living room. I would pull my favorite heavy, old, hardcover dictionary from a shelf just nearby and let it fall open in my lap while I warmed my cold toes. I'd carefully sip my piping hot coffee with one hand and with a pen, in the other, I'd write down the words that piqued my interest in a little journal for later use.
You wouldn't believe how many fungi we're named in this book. It was as though for every ten words in the English language there was a different type of fungus nestled in between them. Recently I learned that the lovely Beatrix Potter is responsible for a good portion of our current understanding of fungi. I'd like to imagine that I would have taken an interest in the different varieties listed if I had known that Beatrix was somehow linked to them. Instead, I skipped over every entry without so much as a second glance.
My uncle took the book from my grandmother's house and I never saw it again. I've tried to find it ...
*Update* found it . It was embarrassingly easy to find too.
I feel I'm glossing over my grandmother. I miss her so much. She passed while I was in training to become a Marine. I didn't leave to attend her funeral because I was pressured not to by my family and instructors. I needed to see her one last time to say goodbye.
She wasn't exactly a good person. She could be callous with her words and she had the mouth of a sailor, but if you treated her with kindness and dealt with her gossiping and moods she would always welcome you in and feed you. In my tiny messed up family, she was the best role model I had and I loved her completely, flaws and