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Memories in Gray of a Mother and Her Daughter

Grey some say. I always spell it gray, so I guess that means I’m one of those wayward Americans, which I am proud to be!—I’m told the King’s English uses an “e” to spell gray. Either way, gray or grey can be dispiriting.

Would Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue have connected so powerfully with music lovers if it had been Rhapsody in Gray? Some of us cover the gray in our hair with coats of many colors, and when I hear “the graying of America,” I can’t help but visualize old, bent folks trudging along into oblivion, and I don’t think that’s the way people in their “Golden Years” ought to be portrayed.

I revel in the eerie grayness of fog, and I dream of gray, rainy days when it’s okay to curl up with a book and not feel guilty. And then there are the early morning hours and those at dusk when the world seems to stand grayishly still for a time before giving us the day or the night. Those are often moments of forgiveness, even promise. Treasure to be sure.

Gray has intensity and mystery. The most beautiful day can plunge into gray by a few words traveling over telephone lines telling us of things that break our hearts. The brain in made up of gray matter that allows us to be who we are and holds our fears and joys, but it can insidiously give way to hidden threats.

Two days after brilliant surgeons at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles separated a tumor, measuring 4 centimeters in diameter, from a precious little girl’s eight-year-old gray matter, her mother whispered in her ear, “You are my treasure.” The little girl open her right eye slowly, the left was swollen shut, and murmured, “No, Mom, you are my treasure.”

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