Today, June 5: the third day of my summer vacation. Aaaah.
I’m still not fully recovered from the last days of the school year with seniors—phew—but I do already miss them.
Four flower beds have been weeded and planted, but not mulched yet, shoot. And another very large couple of flower beds need my attention all the way around. Dad has handled the garden, and my herbs are potted on the deck.
I have gone to see Little Judson a few times over the past month, and I will be visiting him tomorrow to see how handsome and big he’s grown. I can’t wait. We’re all so ready for him to come home.
I have been working on my own writing by taking a class with one of my most favorite memoir writers ever, Abigail Thomas, who wrote Safekeeping, A Three Dog Life, and What Comes Next and How to Like It. There are seven women in the class, including me, and we live as far as Hawaii and France, or as close as Vermont and everywhere in between. We range in age from 50-early 70’s, and everyone has had such different life experiences, that I am fascinated daily by their writing. So far, the work, teaching, mentoring, and writing has been extremely rewarding and fun, and I am loving the challenge of taking a class again.
Here’s one of our most recent exercises, edited for my blogging audience. The assignment: Try making a list if things you don’t remember followed by a list of things you do. See if anything in the second column is sparked by the first.
I don’t remember what we talked about the night we met for a drink. I do remember what I was wearing. How he kissed me.
I don’t remember the drive to Quaker City to visit Grandma. I do remember her candy jar filled with stale, chewy pink wintergreen mints.
A year after the accident, I couldn’t remember what a tow truck was called or whether I assigned homework. I could remember the voice in the car that told me, “Stop moving or you will die.”
I don’t remember what I did to my thumb to lose my fingernail when I was five. I do remember soaking that thumb in a bowl of peroxide while munching on Fritos when I got home from kindergarten and off the bus.
I don’t remember my hotel room in Freiburg, Germany. I do remember the 800-year-old Freiburg silver mine I toured a couple hundred feet below the earth. How I was too scared to participate—claustrophobic—but the guide put me first in our 14-person single file line behind him for protection and security. How that backfired when I had to be first down a ladder through a person-sized hole to the level below. Overwhelmed and paralyzed by fear, I wondered how many steps down I would take before reaching bottom. There in the terrifying darkness, lit only by the miner’s lamp around my neck, I wondered how many seconds I would spend alone before another joined me.
I don’t remember the pain of my body’s trauma after the car accident. I do remember that having a heart attack felt like a cement parking block was lying across my chest as I sweated and fought nausea.
I don’t remember my five-minute speech for the DisneyHAND American Teacher Awards (and that was a BFD). I do remember being Mary Poppins in the fourth grade musical and singing “A Spoon Full of Sugar” solo, center stage.
I don’t remember the last movie I saw in a theater. I do remember why I stopped going though. People are arrogantly, ignorantly, unconscionably obnoxious when it comes to having manners in public (having manners, period) and eating snacks.
Achingly, I can’t remember specific moments when my three children were babies or toddlers or young children. I can remember the smell of their hair warmed by sunshine—each one—when they were small.