Memories

I wrote this during our summer Joy Write meeting two weeks ago. I had been rehearsing it in my mind for days, since this moment had occurred. I had to wait for the time to write it down. That’s my writing process these days. Days in my mind, stealing moments to feverishly jot down the words, my mind always flowing faster than my hand.

Wren held the hem of her dress up, to create a vessel for carrying the chosen friends of the day: a stuffed dog from her kindergarten teacher, a tiny unicorn from a special friend, and a handful of other creatures who had come to find their home with us over the years.

“That reminds me of Grandma,” my mom said, recalling her own mother. “When we went to Italy, she climbed a chestnut tree. She gathered her dress just like that. She filled it with chestnuts.”

I could picture this clearly because as a kid I had seen my Grandma climb a fair number of trees-to pick peaches from the tree in the yard or to hang a handmade scarecrow to keep critters away from the garden. I also knew she loved chestnuts. I’d bought them as a gift for her before- the kinds of gifts that she appreciate because they bring her back to where she came from.

“You holding your dress that way reminded me of Grandma. Now you know that story,” my mom continued. “Someday, maybe you’ll even tell your own kids-or grandkids.”

Or we could write it down, I thought to myself. Preserved forever.

12 thoughts on “Memories

  1. How cool that you had a grandma who climbed trees!!! My grandma, picked eggs from her hens and killed a few- not in front of me… but I do remember her working in front of me and I was amazed.
    What a great time for writing…
    Bonnie

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  2. Love the intro..my mind working faster than my hand! But that you finally wrote it dow to be preserved forever…now that’s a writer at work. I also think about the rehearsal
    In the mind…I wonder, do we talk enough about that part of the process with kids…it’s invisible work, yet important work in the process of some, if not all, writers! The image of the dress as a vessel is clearly painted in this slice…well chosen words! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. So beautiful. Legacy, the carrying on of generations – this is a theme that I love. Once while my Grandma was walking with me and my younger son, then about four, she commented on his unusual gait: “He walks exactly the way my Papa did.” I never knew her Papa but she told me he was a musician and singer with a beautiful bass voice. My son has grown up to be a musician and singer with a beautiful bass voice. He and Grandma’s Papa span five generations. So mysterious and fascinating … yes, yes, keep writing it down!

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      1. What a gift – how exciting! I am happy they made you think of me. They will bring their own story to you, too. I am picturing this beach in Maine as wild and enchanting – savor every moment!

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  4. I love this memory. I love the way the story connects your daughter with your grandmother. And I love the last few words….preserved forever. That is part of why we want to get these memories from our heads and on to paper, isn’t it.

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  5. I love how a pull of fabric sparks a memory. And because you wrote it down after lots of mental rehearsal in your mind), it is “Preserved forever.” Your story shows so much about the women in your family! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I love moments that have this mysterious blending of different times and generations. It’s cool that there are these very alive creatures, but there are also these long-past characters swirling around them. Your post actually captures more than just the one memory of your mom and “grandma.” It has you, your own memories, and Wren’s present-day actions mixed in. Even better.
    My favorite poem is a poem called “Poem” by Elizabeth Bishop, and it has a line in it that seems to fit this post: life and the memory of it so compressed
    they’ve turned into each other.

    Here’s a link to her poem, if you’re curious. I think it’s brilliant: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/poem-2/

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    1. I just read this poem a few times. There is so much there. Thank you for sharing. How often is that true, the life/memory compression? I also marveled at Elizabeth Bishop’s use of punctuation…

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