Tuesday, October 15, 2013

October Memoir and Back Story Blog Challenge-Week 3: Secrets. Could I Be That Unaware?

     It has been interesting to take part in this challenge. I have had to come face to face with the fact that I am not as devoted to my craft as I would like to think I am. Maybe that is the big secret reveal for me. I have missed several deadlines-all with good excuses-but missed none the less. This has sort of shaken my core perception of myself.
     Maybe I am reading too much into my short comings. This is just one of many random self imposed goals-so what does it really mean? Does it speak toward being burned out? Is it a reflection on my real abilities or desires?
     I don't really recall there being any great secrets or mysteries over the course of my life. I am going too need to ponder this. It may be that I discover that the greatest secrets I have encountered are the ones I have kept from myself, tucked away, deep in my heart.

Monday, October 7, 2013

October Memoir and BackStory Blog Challenge - 2nd week: On Relationships. My Uncle, My Hero

     He has been gone for five years now. A stunning thought as I contemplate this passage of time. The rain pouring down outside adds to my melancholy. The sound of traffic in the distance speaks of trips that won't be taken, things that won't be seen. Faintly, at the back of my mind, I can conjure up a song, "the falling leaves drift by my window."
     Is it acceptable to think I still have a relationship with him, I mean, since he has been dead now for half a decade. Our relationship was one of the most important ones for me during my formative yeas and well into adulthood.
     I was a sickly child. I was born prematurely back in a day when there were not neonatal units and specialized care for preemies. My parents were given all sorts of dire predictions about my prognosis-which-fortunately-did not come too pass.
     One precaution they took-was keeping me some what isolated at first-to allow my immune system and nervous system more time to develop. One result of this-I was a very shy child. I would cry-even when left in the care of relatives-since I spent little time with them.
     My uncle looked and sounded exactly like my father, his younger brother, though. He could hold me when I was a toddler, briefly, because it would take me a bit to realize he was not my dad. There are several pictures from when I was quite young that show me jumping out of his arms-trying to reach for my father, who is just out of frame, as I have come to the conclusion that this is not my dad.
     I can remember being about 4 or 5 and seeing these pictures and feeling quite badly about having been such a fussy baby and wondering-had it hurt his feelings at all? I remember then it was my goal each year to make sure I had my picture taken with him-showing how happy I was to be with him, on his lap.
     I have always said that my uncle and my father were the bookends of my life. They allowed me to think the world was really a safe and happy place-even though they both knew better. My uncle being a police officer, then detective, then administrator, and my dad being a corrections officer.
     I can still remember paddling between them at a local campground's small lake. It was when I learned my first tentative dog paddle, that I could be safe and get around in the water on my own. I spent a whole afternoon swimming back and forth between them as they talked and talked and talked.
     Even though he is gone-I still will pause to reflect in a situation-to think what would he thing about this-what would he say if I did this? He still influences me to this day, so I think it is fine to continue to feel that my relationship with him is alive and well, beyond the limited boundaries as I understand them in this time and space.
Nat King Cole's Autumn Leaves

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Memoir and Back-Story Blog Challenge: My Other Grandmother

     My mother's mother was the only grandma I ever knew. And we were blessed that she lived just a tad (2 weeks) over 99 years.
     I know my life has been enriched because I was able to have her for 44 years. It has been just over six months since she died. She was ready too go and died peacefully. She wasn't alone. It was as she had wished it would be.
    And yet-it is still difficult for me. It is still surprising. I know it would seem sill or selfish to the average passer by, but I am still surprised she died. even as I type that statement, I know it seems unbelievable. It is just, well, I sort of thought that maybe my grandmother was eternal.
     She was always there. A strong, comforting presence-even if she was only barely over 5 feet something and really rather small. By the time I was 11 I towered over her.
     I am so fortunate that I have 40+ years of memories with her. But one of the most important could have been the most terrifying-for both of us. But it turned out okay. And we never talked of it again.
     I am staying at her house. It could have been for the afternoon, maybe I had stayed over night. I'm not sure. I spent lots of time at her house. It was one of my favorite places to be.
     She has made us sandwiches-roast beef, left over from one of her previous suppers, on white bread with a little lettuce and mayo. She cuts the sandwiches into triangles. I always think this is very fancy when she does this.
     I am happily eating my lunch, when suddenly I am not. Something goes wrong-and I am choking-in a can not draw in any air, panicky, what will I do sort of way. And she reacts calmly and swiftly-not necessarily the way that one is trained to do in first aid today-but it was what she knew to do and it worked.
     She always wore matching ensembles-house dress, shoes, polish, and lipstick. I can see her bright red talons coming at me. She pries open my mouth and snatches out the offending piece of beef, tears it right from my throat.
     My throat is raw and I am shaky, but I don't cry. I am too surprised by what has happened. She gets me a drink and we slowly regroup. And we never speak of this again. As I look back now, I bet she was just as scared as I was in that moment-but she acted swiftly-and I never knew if she was or wasn't.
     I think this is one reason why I always felt close to her-and believed she was capable of almost anything. If it hadn't been for her-I might not be here and able to write this at this moment.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Memoir and Back Story Blog Challenge: A Day Late and a Dollar Short

     I eagerly signed up for this challenge way back in September-when October seemed so very far away. And then time did its tricky thing and shifted-and suddenly it was October and I actually thought it was Monday yesterday-so-therefore still September.
     Now that I have come to grips with it being October-I am about to do my very first posting-which was meant for the first-today, on the second.
     I liked the idea of exploring what I think is my first known memory for this post. In my mind I can see the stairway landing as clearly as if it was before me right now. There is bright sunlight shining through the curtains that are pushed to the edges of the windows. This causes the wee bits of dust in the air to shimmer and shine in that appealing way that has always drawn me to an area or an object. I like shiny.
     I described the area to my father once-and he said it sounded like the stairway in his parents house. In talking about the toys I am playing with, he agreed that those would have been toys his mother had saved from his childhood.
     I know I am perfectly happy as I play. I am safe, it is warm, and life is good. As an adult, I also know that I have to be under the age of two and a half in this moment-because my grandmother died when I was 2 and a half. Her house was sold and I never played on that landing again.
     It is a sweet and lovely memory to me. But it also frustrates me. It frustrates me because I can conjure up this moment-but have no recollection of my own of the grandmother that saved those toys, that loved me so dearly. There are plenty of pictures that provide proof of this love. There are lots of stories from cousins and aunts and uncles that give life to that love she had for me. But there is no memory saved away in a dark corner of my mind for me to draw from on my own.
     It is further proof to me that we need to tell our stories and those of the folks that have gone before us. We need each other to be keeper of the love that is among us. It is by sharing stories that we keep connections alive. It is our way to nudge each other into eternity.