Behind The RER
Lately I’ve been getting more and more comments on my RER signature. I always just say 'thanks!' but the truth is, those three letters mean so much more to me than I lead off.
Maybe it’s the designer in me, but I always appreciate when little things have meaning. I love the story behind them. Which is why today I’m opening up on what RER means to me. It’s not always easy to be vulnerable, but I think sometimes it’s important to share.
I remember the first time I realized we had the same initials. I was probably like 6 years old and I was wearing your giiiiiant navy blue fluffy robe, with RER embroidered in white right on it. I thought it was so cool that you were that obsessed with me that you embroidered MY initials on YOUR robe. That’s when you explained to me that they were your initials too. MY MIND WAS BLOWN. You mean to tell me your birth-given name wasn’t grandpa?? AND you mean to tell me we share the same three letters. AND you mean to tell me it wasn’t a coincidence but that my parents did that on purpose?? MIND BLOWN.
I instantly became obsessed with everything you had that said “RER” because hey, it was mine too - right? Your car even had RER on the plates, and you best believe I thought it was mine the day I turned 16 (it wasn't).
You taught me so much and I have so many memories with you. My first plane ride, (where I threw up - my bad), horse races, parades, shopping trips, graduations - I remember a lot. I could go on and on - but I think I’ll just point out a few small stores that taught me a lot.
I remember when you “retired”. But you never really did. You always found work to do because you couldn’t sit still. You worked at an office supply store and loved it, and everyone loved you. Though you did get strangely obsessed with label makers for a minute. You always claimed you worked that job to pay for my shopping sprees, but I think you just liked to talk to people. You loved to joke and you loved to make people laugh. That’s when I learned that work doesn’t have to be horrible, it can actually be a little fun.
I remember the first time I saw you cry. It was in the fourth grade, grandparents day. You and grandma got the “traveled the farthest” award. We sang American songs and I looked up to see you in the crowd with tears. That’s when I learned that it’s okay to be strong and to have emotions.
I remember the thousssands of e-mails you sent. I think you were sending memes before the world even knew what memes were. These emails were filled with jokes, stories, puppies, you name it. That’s when I learned that even a small thing, like an e-mail, can brighten someone’s most stressful day.
I remember when you got sick. One Thanksgiving, I was home from college and you were home from the hospital, and I wheel-chaired you from the living room to the dining room. You grabbed the wires connected from your oxygen to your nose, formed them in a circle and held the circle out in front of you and pretended to be a race car driver. It was hilarious. That’s when I learned to find light in the hard times.
It’s been a few years since you’ve been gone, but I still think about you all the time. You taught me how to work hard and how to have fun at the same time. You taught me that life is serious, but to not take it too seriously. You taught me how to be honest. You taught me so much, RER, and I don’t think I’ll ever sign a single painting without thinking of you. So grateful to be your granddaughter and to share those three letters.
Rachel Elizabeth Reynolds