“The only real treasure is in your head. Memories are better than diamonds and nobody can steal them from you”

The house is already warm. I’m in the coolest room, and even here the humidity is creeping through the two open windows. Poor Miss Gracie is panting and has taken refuge in her crate. Soon enough, though, we’ll all be cool behind closed windows and doors with the AC blasting.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the start of the heat wave. I guess today is a dress rehearsal. This has really been a dreadful summer. We had weeks of rain, and this will be the third heat wave, though the cape’s has had only a pseudo heat wave because the ocean keeps us a few degrees cooler than off-Cape so we haven’t hit 90˚, just the high 80’s.

Last night it rained. I was outside with my friends when it started. At first it was a light rain then it was heavy enough to be heard hitting the umbrella and then we started to get wet. That’s when the evening ended. It was still raining when I went to bed, and when I woke up this morning, everything was still wet. I loved walking through the wet grass in my bare feet when I got the papers. I even left my footprints on the front steps.

My sister Moe spent her entire childhood with stubbed toes, and it didn’t matter whether or not she was wearing sandals. Her big toe never healed until it was time for shoes again. I always think it strange when odd memories like stubbed toes surface. It is an inconsequential memory which was probably buried as deep and as far back as my memory drawers go, but here it is. It makes me wonder what else is back there just waiting for its turn to surface.

My friend Maria and I joined St. Patrick’s drill team at the same time. I was ten and she was eleven. We were in the junior drill team which had a Saturday morning practice. It was in the old armory close to the square. On the first floor of the armory were several rooms and I remember lots of flags. One of the rooms had a pool table, and that’s where we’d often find the caretaker. The second floor was where we had drill practice for as long as I was in the drill team and longer than, but I don’t know how long. It was one huge room with windows on both sides, and it had a wooden floor. Because of the size of the room, we had to learn our competition maneuver in pieces. It wouldn’t be until warm weather that we could use a field and put all of the pieces together. I remember those Saturday mornings and learning first to stand at attention and parade rest. Then we learned to march in rows and lines. Maria and I laughed a lot, and we got in trouble for it a lot. It would be a year later that we were both moved to the senior drill team. Most of its members were much older that I: many were over sixteen and a few at eighteen were in their last year. I wasn’t ignored, but they and I had little in common. I was only eleven.

I remember going to an after competition party to celebrate the drill team having placed second. Most of the older girls brought their boyfriends, and I remember feeling out-of-place. That party was at a house which still stands. It is now a vet’s office and a day-care center for dogs. When I pass it to go to my sister’s house, I remember that party.

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20 Comments on ““The only real treasure is in your head. Memories are better than diamonds and nobody can steal them from you””

  1. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Memory is odd. I’ve had a couple of inconsequential memories pop up over the last week.
    The latest was this morning when something made me remember how it felt to be sitting on my horse when he bent around to scratch his ear with his back hoof.
    Your sister’s constantly stubbed toe reminded me of my brothers. One of them usually had a bloody nose and the other was always splitting his lip. It wasn’t because they were hitting each other either. They were always falling over or off of things. Noses and lips were apparently their weakest spots.

    It’s still coolish in my house but it’s warm outside in the sun. I guess I won’t be doing much outside for the next week except watering the pot plants so they don’t collapse.

    Enjoy the rest of the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My dad was too funny with memory. He couldn’t remember the names of movie stars and always guessed Sonja Henie. It always made my mother and me laugh.

      I can sympathize and appreciate your poor brothers. My father was a faller, and I too have inherited that trait. I trip often and fall most ungracefully.

      My air is on now. The house was already up to 78˚ and it is early. Now I can loll in the cool house.

      Have a great Sunday!!

  2. olof1 Says:

    Your sister and I have that in common, I don’t know how I did it but my toes were always a bloody mess when wearing sandals 🙂

    Welcome to Swedish summer weather 🙂 well except for the fact that it’s usually cold, damp and rainy here all summer, not warm. I can’t remember when we had as good weather as we’ve had this year. It never got any cold here and the rain missed us so I’m quite happy 🙂

    I’ve had some memories popping up this week too, not odd though 🙂 Some smell brought me back to my grandmothers kitchen and she was frying meat balls. She was talking to me but I have no idea what it was about. Some were about our summer house and a couple were about the pond in the big park near where I grew up. I could remember how a wasp attacked a dragonfly and it bit of its head, wings and legs and flew away with the rest. That was the first time I learned that wasps eat meat.

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      I remember how gross her toes looked so I offer you sympathy for your toes!

      You got our good summer, and I’m just fine with that. You deserve a good summer, but I would have preferred it if we both got one.

      I don’t think I’d forget that wasp either.

      Enjoy your evening!!

      • olof1 Says:

        It always seems that we have the opposite weather 🙂 If it’s cold and rainy here it’s warm and humid over at Yours! I think we all deserv a good summer so we can stand the nasty winter better 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Christer, I’ll go with your wish for the both of us!!

  3. Bob Says:

    In the end our memories are the only thing that matters because they are the only thing we can take with us to our graves. I am always amazed at what triggers an old memory to come into my conscious mind. Most of the time there is no relationship between my current thoughts and the memory that is evoked. Some scientists think that every time we remember something from the past our brains change the memory so that over time it’s not the same. My memories don’t always jive with others in my family who shared them with me.

    My sister remembers that I teased her mercilessly as a kid, but I have no recollection of teasing her. Or, at least I won’t admit to teasing her mercilessly, just a little teasing. Fortunately, our brains suppress most of the bad memories which makes the good ones even better. As I get older it gets harder to remember things like where I left my keys an hour ago, but I can remember what I ate at a famous Barbecue restaurant in Peoria thirty years ago.

    I awoke this morning to cloudy skies and some more rain. The high temperature today should be in the upper 80s and a 60% chance of more rain.

    • katry Says:

      I wish it were true about memories following us. It is so sad when people get Alzheimer’s and have lost not only their memories but also their present, not recognizing family.

      I agree about the triggers. I had no idea why my sister’s stubbed toes jumped into my head this morning. I think that we all have our own memories, even of the same events. All of who we are are part of those memories and our views are different than those who shared those memories. Look at your poor sister tormented by her brother. Her memories are vivid about the teasing while yours are milder because you did the teasing.

      I love that we suppress those bad memories. Life is too short for it to be crowded by the bad.

      I love that you are getting rain again!!

      • Bob Says:

        If you can’t take your memories with you, then what’s the point of believing in an afterlife. Otherwise it’s just six feet of dirt and a few cheap flowers.
        Suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s to me is a living death. Not knowing where you are, where you came from or who your friends and loved ones are is not living.

        Everyone has their own perceptions of reality and therefore different versions of the same events in their memory.

      • katry Says:

        The different versions, I think, come from the different roles. You thought it was a little teasing but your sister, the victim of your teasing, saw it differently. My little sisters say I ignored them, but I don’t remember it that way. The differences in our ages gave us little in common was what I saw.

        I agree about Alzheimer’s.

  4. Coleen Burnett Says:

    I am doing volunteer work for a US Senate candidate here in Jersey. His office is in a neighborhood that I once covered as a reporter. I go past certain buildings and memories flood my brain…I interviewed somebody here or there….sat up all night waiting for election results at that restaurant (that has changed hands four times since then)…an old building has a new facade…you know the drill…

    Bob’s first sentence is absolutely spot on…

    Hot and humid here too. I don’t wanna leave the house.

    Waving from Jersey to make a breeze…


    • katry Says:

      I completely know the drill. When I drive through my old town, I remember so and so lived there, and margie lived there, that’s where the train rails were, and I remember all the store which should to be uptown.

      I hope that will be true for all of us-that we stay aware and alert and filled with memories until we pass this earth.

      I have to say the AC is already on, but I love the breeze.

      Sending the breeze right back!!

  5. Carol Says:

    Running down memory lane today.. Big marathon for my brain

  6. Young people spend all of their time looking ahead and little time reflecting on their short past. We ‘more mature’ folk often spend an inordinate amount of time looking back reflectively on our lives, sometimes with the goal of trying to make sense of just how we ended up where we are . . . and, of course, nothing can take us back to a particular time and place like a song (and/or photos, of course.)

    • katry Says:

      Music always brings me somewhere in my past: where I first heard the song, singing loudly with the friends in the car to the AM radio, trips to the the beach and so many other times and places.

      When I was eleven, I vowed I would travel the world. It was about the only future plan I made until college when I had to decide what I was going to do in life when I was picking a major.

      I am so very involved in the present: in making plans with friends, or reading or planning a trip or even doing nothing. Being retired is almost as much fun as being a kid again so maybe that’s why the past is so prominent.

  7. im6 Says:

    Today’s theme prompted me to search through my hard drive and I came up with this treasure from 1963. How can it be that I can sing along to every word of a song from 50 years ago, yet I can barely remember what I had for dinner last night? 😉 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yzKGk5BlrU

    • katry Says:

      I think it is a matter of priorities. I doubt you really care what you had for dinner, but music, music is huge in your life. Remembering the lyrics makes perfect sense!

  8. Lori Kossowsky Says:

    Stubbed toes, broken toes, broken memories…The first thing I thought of when I saw the title was Diamonds and Rust. I love all the comments that the readers of KTCC make. As Mr. Rodgers would say, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, except last night wasn’t so beautiful when we heard the verdict. So sad. Rioting in the town ( as expected ), next to me.

    I have only one relative I can call up to go over family memories and I am grateful for that. Also pictures often stir up my memories. Songs, of course, stir up many memories. Not only the songs themselves, but I’ll think a few words or notes from a song, and then I have to search for it– a human name that tune.

    Sad rolling crashing waves,
    Lori and her memories

    • katry Says:

      I too love all the comments . I am so glad all my KTCCC friends feel friend to comment as they please.

      My Uncle Jack is now the protector of family memories. My mother told us many as did my grandfather. We have all so many of the old memories of my mother and her family growing up.

      Rain here!

      Waving through the drops!!

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