Posted tagged ‘memory drawer’

“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.

“It was one of those humid days when the atmosphere gets confused. Sitting on the porch, you could feel it: the air wishing it was water.”

August 22, 2017

My neighbor came by with eclipse glasses so I got to see the partial eclipse we had here. It was so very cool to watch the moon move across the sun and darken the day just a bit.  Two things jumped into my head from my memory drawers. I was reminded of when I was young, and we used negatives to look through at the eclipse. I have no idea if they were all that safe but figure they must have been as I didn’t go blind. I don’t even remember if there were warnings. Now, of course, there are no negatives. The second memory was of reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Our Yankee is sentenced to be burned at the stake but is saved by magic, or at least what King Arthur thinks is magic but is really an eclipse. He, the Yankee, said he’d blot out the sun, and it happened as he’d predicted because our hero had remembered the eclipse. I would have been burned at the stake.

Today is supposed to be hot and humid. When I went to get the papers and take Gracie to the backyard, I could feel the humidity, and it was still early, usually a cooler time. Right now it’s cloudy and breezy, but that humidity is hanging in there.

When I was waiting for my coffee to brew, I saw a feeder moving back and forth and knew it was a spawn of Satan. I could see its tail and knew it was the worst off them all, a red spawn. It was inside the keep the spawn away wire and was dining on seed. I sneaked over to the feeder. The spawn saw me and jumped to the rail, but I was there so it fell to the ground, two floors away. The spawn’s fall scared the doves feeding from the ground, and they flew into the air. The birds at the feeders were spooked so they too took off. The whole thing was a comedy of errors with birds flying everywhere.

I have to go out in a bit, and the sun just made a quick in and out entrance. Right now it’s among the missing. I’m glad. I figure the humidity is enough to make for a dismal day without adding more heat.

Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!

August 4, 2017

The air is dripping. The humidity is so thick it seems to coat my skin when I go outside. This morning’s gray clouds are giving way to blue skies and intermittent sun. It is already hot. Here in my den, it is still cool. It won’t get hot until the afternoon after the sun moves from front to back.

The bird feeder I filled yesterday is already half empty. The birds flying in and out seem endless. One eats and two wait. They are mostly chickadees, black capped chickadees, the state bird of Massachusetts. I like to sit and watch them. The birds fly right over my head almost close enough to touch.

I can’t seem to find a story or a memory. That is rare for me as I have a huge memory drawer overflowing with scraps and pieces of my life. I guess I’m going to visit Ghana today, and I’m bringing you with me. There are so many stories yet to tell.

One day there was a knock at my door. It was a man I didn’t know. He greeted me. I returned the greeting. He told me he was looking for a white woman and was I interested. I said no. He asked me if I knew any Canadians. I said no again. He thanked me and left.

A blind beggar was being led by a small boy. The beggar was holding one end of a stick and the boy was holding the other. The beggar stopped in front of me and asked for money. This was while I was in training. It was my first beggar. I said sorry and sent him off with good wishes as you have to give a beggar something. He called me batoria, white woman. I wonder what gave me away? I also wondered if he was really blind.

I always went to the same vegetable lady in the market. I bought tomatoes and onions from her. She gave me my change the first time I bought from her, and I put it in my bag. She didn’t speak English but indicated with her hands that I should count it. I shook my head no. That cemented our relationship. After that she would dash me extra tomatoes and onions. Once she had a small watermelon. I have no idea where she got it, but she had saved it for me. When I was leaving to come home, I went to say goodbye. She was crying and gave me a hug. She also gave me a small gift. It sits on the table here in the den. She always comes to mind when I see it.

I loved the mornings in Ghana. The roosters crowed. The air smelled of charcoal fires. I could hear water filling the metal buckets where my students waited in line to take their bucket baths. I’d sit outside my front door drinking my first cup of coffee before breakfast. I had the same breakfast every day: two eggs cooked in groundnut oil (peanut oil) and two pieces of toast toasted against the sides of the small charcoal burner. I’d watch the school children cutting through my school compound to go to schools outside the gates at each end of the school. At one end was the primary school and at the other was the middle school. I was an object of curiosity until the students got used to me then they’d wish me, “Good morning, sir. How Are you? I am quite well thank you, ” all said one after the other without a break. I’d have one or two more cups of coffee between classes.

It seems my bemoaning my lack of memories was massively premature.

“I’ll just tell you what I remember because memory is as close as I’ve gotten to building my own time machine.”

May 29, 2015

I looked up perfect day in the dictionary and found a picture of today. The morning is cool, the sun bright, the sky the darkest of blues and the leaves on the trees sport the look of newness which comes in spring. Both the sky and the leaves are so lovely you’d think they were painted from a palette filled with the brightest colors.

Mostly I never think about making memories. They just sort of stick and now and then something brings one out, and I am flooded with a forgotten memory. I suspect my memory drawers are overflowing because I only get snippets of that memory before it all comes back. I remember getting on the bus to high school and I remember the smell of the bus. On the route was a huge hill, and we went down it on the way to school. We took a left at the end of the hill and a bit further on was a corner store and a few houses which looked alike. On the left side of the road was a beautiful house seemingly out-of-place as all the other houses lack the stateliness of this one house, but as we rode further into Winchester beyond the downtown, all the houses were beautiful and huge. The last thing I remember of that trip I took every day was a stop where Liz got on.

We used to visit my aunt the nun once a year in Connecticut. I have several single pictures, memories, of those visits. Every time we went we’d stop on the Connecticut Turnpike at a brick rest stop. My mother would check us all to make sure we were clean, our hair was combed and our clothes were neat. I remember sitting in the visitors’ living room. We whispered because the convent seemed to engender whispering. A nun always brought us cookies and something to drink. She never made any sound. My aunt didn’t know what to do with us so a tour of her school was a part of the visit. I remember the smell of chalk.

I remember standing outside my room in Winneba, Ghana at the start of training. My room was on the second floor, and from there I could see the rusted tin on all the roofs and the greens of the trees and bushes. If I close my eyes, that scene still comes back to me.

Not all my memories are happy ones, none of us are that lucky. I think the saddest of my memories have their own drawers. Those memories come unbidden at times and bring with them the pain and the sorrow. They remind me that life is a farrago, a mix, a jumble of feelings.

“I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

May 10, 2013

I just got back from my monthly breakfast with friends, all who are, like me, retired. I wasn’t sure whether it was 9 or 9:30 so I went for 9. I was early so I sat in the car and watched the world round me. Fog came rolling down the street from the ocean. It also hovered over the marsh behind the houses across the street. An old man shuffled out of the breakfast spot to his car which had taken up two spaces: the front end had one and the back end the other. He opened his trunk, looked in and then closed it again. I guess all was well in his trunk. He got in his car and left which freed up two spaces. People went in and out of the small post office. In front of me was a grove of beautiful red trees. I listened to the radio while I waited and then when one of my friends came, we went inside.

The morning is spectacular. Fluffy clouds dot the deep blue sky, and it is time to change to sandals, time to put away my winter shoes. Yesterday it rained a bit, and I heard a long and loud clap of thunder, as loud as any I’ve heard in a while. I expected a downpour, but it never came; instead, it merely sprinkled for a while.

Last night was trivia, and we reigned supreme. Many of the answers worked in our favor, we who are a bit older. One bonus was name the mother in each sitcom. I figured Donna Stone of the Donna Reed Show was not going to be answered by the younger teams. Even the music was easy. Usually the questions ask for groups totally unknown to me. Last night the first question was what duo was originally named Caesar and Cleo. I hopped right on that one. The next music question was whose first hit was A Tisket A Tasket in 1938. East enough-I play it here some Easters. At the end, before the final question, we were tied for second, a spot we were in most of the evening. The category was states and we bet 25, the maximum. The question was name the state admitted to the union in 1863 which first wanted to be called Kanawha. It was another answer I knew right away but I had to convince a couple of my teammates: one of whom wanted Arkansas and the other California. They had no reason, just hunches. When I explained why, they went with my answer. That put us over the top and we won! It made me glad that some of my memory drawers are filled with answers which are generally useless except for trivia contests. They are the drawers with cobwebs and a few mice.

Nothing on tap for the weekend. Rain is expected so maybe I’ll clean out that cabinet I’ve been eyeing for a while. But then again, maybe I won’t. It sounds a bit too much like actual work to me. I think I’m allergic!

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