Posted tagged ‘apartment’

“Memories are like a garden. Regularly tend the pleasant blossoms and remove the invasive weeds.”

January 16, 2018

I woke up to the sun and a blue sky, but I knew it was just the sun with light, no warmth. The temperature is 33˚. My feet crunched on the grass when I went to get the papers. The dusting from yesterday’s snow has frozen. Nothing will melt. The snow covers the ice. I’m careful.

I don’t remember much about being really little. I have only fleeting pictures in my memories. I remember the nursery school where I lasted a single day. It was a brick building covered in ivy and was across the street from our apartment building. My mother told me I cried so much the second day she never sent me again. That part I don’t remember. I remember the backyard. It was filled with clothes lines stretched from metal poles. They were in boxes outlined by chain link fences, and each apartment building had its own lines in its own box. I remember how the lines were surrounded by the brick buildings filled with apartments. The front of my building had steps which were in a small round row.

When I was five, we moved from the city to the town where I would grow up. I don’t remember moving, but I do remember exploring and being found by the police who said I was lost. I didn’t notice. My sister lives on the same street only a block away from where I was found. Coincidence is funny. I have no recollection of my first day of school, but I remember being terrified by Sister Redempta. Mrs. Kerrigan was my second grade teacher, and she was old. I remember flowered dresses and gray hair and seeing her walk across the street from the church to the house where she lived. Her apartment was on the second floor. I loved my nun in the third grade, Sister Eileen Marie, and I remember our classroom was in the cellar of the rectory. I remember tables and chairs instead of desks, and I know I sat on the outside of a table toward the back of the room. I was eight that year. Going to school in the cellar was a sort of adventure.

From then on, my memories are more vivid, but they are fragmented as my memory drawers are nearly full. I cram the most recent memories way in the back of the drawer almost in a pile. I figure it is a good thing when I have sloth days as there is nothing memorable, nothing to keep in mind except warmth, comfort and a good book.

“The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you’re afraid of it.”

January 7, 2016

Today is warmer than it has been which is good as I have a few errands to do. The cats need dry food, and I need bread, life’s essentials for the cats and me. I did vacuum and dust a bit yesterday so I have a small sense of accomplishment.

I didn’t even know how to work the washing machine my freshman year in college. The bell went off once, and the machine wouldn’t work no matter what buttons I pushed. The idea of an uneven load never entered my head. I didn’t even know the load could be uneven, unbalanced. I ended up pulling out the clothes and wringing them by hand before putting them into the dryer. When I mentioned the bell to my mother, she explained about redistributing the clothes in the drum. I was thinking we should have had a laundry lesson before I left.

My junior year in college I had an apartment. My roommate and I had been classmates starting in the first grade and all the way through except for the year on the Cape. She had always worked to put herself through school. She was one of those waitresses who could heft full trays. Her right arm had more muscles than her left. She could cook anything, and I was amazed. I could cook things like eggs, hot dogs or hamburgers, but that was it. She even made meatloaf and gravy, onion gravy. I was more than happy to do the dishes if she cooked.

I was mostly inept when it came to household stuff. I never did laundry, never cooked and didn’t even have to make my bed. My mother did it all. That made apartment living an adventure. Learning to clean was easy. Learning to cook took a bit more time, but I got good at it.

Being in Africa was a test of sorts. I had to survive without machines or devices including an oven and a washing machine and dryer. My wringing skills came to bear on wash day, all done by hand. I ate mostly chicken with a sauce. The meal was cooked over a charcoal fire and the sauce was usually made from tomatoes and onions, the two most plentiful veggies. I did a little frying as well. I was spreading my culinary wings.

Nothing fazed me after Africa. I conquered the wash and kitchen duties and could cook just about anything. I was never to be afraid to try. That was the best part of it all. I had some failures, the bagels come to mind, but the successes were delicious, still are.