Archive for the 'Monday Memories' Category

Monday Memory – The Sound of Life

Monday, July 24th, 2006

“Listen!” I hushed the talking as soon as I heard the sound.  It was gone so quickly I wasn’t sure I had even heard it – a fleeting, almost-mewing sound.  Holding my finger to my lips, I motioned the others to listen.  Despite the bustle of people in the corridor, we shamelessly pressed our ears to the door.  There it was again!  We looked at each other.  Was it what we thought it was?  Suddenly it came again.  This time sustained and strong.  There was no doubt – it was a baby’s cry.  We looked at each other, tears filled our eyes, and grins spread across our faces.  A new life had just entered the world on the other side of the door.  My first grandchild was born.

Note:  I’m attending a 4-day writing workshop (how to teach writing), and this was one of the things I wrote on the first day.  We had to try different leads.  This was my “dialogue” lead.

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Monday Memory – Being the Wicked Witch

Monday, June 19th, 2006

When I was in the first grade in Griffin, Georgia, my class put on the play “Sleeping Beauty.”  No Sleeping Beauty or mother of the princess role for me!  I had the role of the wicked witch who sentenced the kingdom to 100 years of sleep for the dastardly offense of not inviting me to Beauty’s birth celebration.  It has been FIFTY years since that award-winning performance, but I still remember clearly my most defining line:  “So, you didn’t invite me to the party, EH?”   The “EH?” was said with a high evil screech.  I was quite proud of that screech.

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Monday Memory – Sitting “Under Daddy’s Wing”

Monday, June 12th, 2006

I grew up as one of seven children.  My childhood was in the fifties – before seatbelts.  When my family would travel, my father would drive, and he would take turns letting us children sit “under his wing.”  That means we’d sit close by his side, with his arm in front of us to protect us.  In those days before seatbelts, there was no greater feeling of love and security than traveling down the road – safe and protected under Daddy’s wing.

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Monday Memory – September 11, 2001 and the JFK Assassination

Monday, May 29th, 2006

I was thinking about how we remember where we were and what we were doing when we hear momentous news.  I thought of the following occasions of national news:

On September 11, 2001, I had the radio on as I drove to school.  There was a news report of smoke billowing out of the World Trade Center.  I arrived at school and when I checked my mailbox in the office, there was a group of teachers around the television – and we watched as a second plane hit the World Trade Center.  I remember thinking “That’s no accident.” Obviously.  Our principal told us to keep the news to ourselves, and later we received email from our Director of Schools to let elementary students wait till they got home to talk about the situation with their parents.  We could answer questions matter-of-factly, but without sounding alarmed.  Junior high and high school teachers could discuss it with their students.  During every single break, teachers were huddled around the TV to learn more about what was going on.  At the time I was dating a National Guardsman, and I kept emailing him all morning for more news.  For the most part, the school day at my elementary school went on as usual from the students’ perspective.  I’ll always remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I learned more about what happened.  Some parents came to the school and picked up their children early.  I remember feeling a need to be with someone I loved when school was over.  But I was single, and the aforementioned guy I was dating wasn’t very emotionally available.  I called my son who was in college and talked with him briefly, I called my daughter who was busy with her 6-month old baby, and I think I called my mother, too.  Then I spent the rest of the evening alone.  It was a horrifying day.

On November 22, 1963 I was in a high school algebra class.  The intercom crackled on with a radio playing.  At first we laughed, thinking that someone in the office has hit the intercom button by mistake.  Soon, though, we heard what was being broadcast.  There was crying – and a few students became hysterical upon hearing the news that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.  I don’t recall much more of that day – other than being glued to the TV at home later that evening as we watched Lyndon Johnson take the oath of office, Jackie’s blood-stained dressed, and the replay of what had happened played over and over.

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Monday Memory – The First Time I Met PawPaw

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

The first time I met Paw-Paw was back in 1967 during the fall quarter of my freshman year in college.  I can still remember exactly where I was sitting with some friends in the grill at school when Paw-Paw came up to the table, introduced himself and started talking to us.  There was an immediate attraction.  He had a confidence and sense of humor that I loved.  He told me later that when he first saw me across the room, he told his friends that he was going to meet me and ask me out.

The next morning, he “just happened” to come through the cafeteria breakfast line where I was working.  We soon had our first date, started “going steady” a couple months later, and we became engaged in December 1968.  When he kissed me the first time, we were standing on the sidewalk outside my dorm.  I was standing on the edge of the sidewalk, and when he kissed me, I lost my balance and he had to catch me.  We always joked that he literally swept me off my feet with that first kiss.

We were married in 1969, our daughter was born in 1974 and our son in 1978.  After 28 years of marriage, we divorced in 1997.  If we hadn’t divorced we’d be celebrating our 37th anniversary in a couple weeks.  We plan to remarry soon. 

Since PawPaw and I have been back together the past year, I’ve had friends ask me if I wish I had given it another chance back in 1997 – do I wish that we had tried harder.  That’s a tough question because back then I could only make the decision that seemed right at the time.  In retrospect it’s easy to say, “Sure – we should have tried harder - we could have done things differently.”  The years of being divorced were both good and bad.  I think we both learned and grew a lot through the experience.  We both had other relationships and became involved in groups and activities that we never would have known otherwise.  It definitely expanded our world.  But, on the negative side, we lost those years of being together.  We can’t go back and change things.  We can only move forward and hopefully learn from the past.

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Monday Memory – Journal Writing

Monday, May 8th, 2006

Back in the late fifties/early sixties, my father was the minister at Watkins Memorial Methodist Church in Ellijay, Georgia.  Since he was an outstanding preacher, he was often asked to preach at revivals at other churches.  Each time he returned home after a few days away, he brought a small gift to each of us children.  One time his gift to me was a small brown leather diary.  I was in the fifth grade at the time. 

I loved that diary and wrote in it faithfully.  When it was full, I got another one.  Later in high school I made my own diaries with paper and cardboard – sewing them together to form a book.  I remember that on the front cover of one I drew a big heart with a crack going through it and wrote in large letters: “Diary of Broken Hearts.”  Yes, I was a drama queen. 

I kept a diary from fifth grade until a few days before I married PawPaw in 1969.  At that time I decided that I was “leaving my past behind and entering adulthood” and should do away with the activities of my childhoo.  And with great ceremony, I burned all my diaries. (another DQ moment)

I’m fortunate to have only a few real regrets in my life, and that’s one of them.  It would be SO cool to be able to read my journal entries from fifth grade through junior high and high school and the first two years of college. 

I started a new journal not too long after I got married, and I still have all my journals after that.  It’s nice to go back and read about the early years of my marriage to PawPaw, my pregnancies and the births of both my children – now 27 and 31.  Once I started using a computer about ten years ago, I stopped keeping a paper and pencil journal.  All my writing since then has been done on the computer – and I lost lots of it when my computer crashed once.  But still I have a drawer full of journals – and every year or two it’s nice to glance through them and remember some of the fun times in my past.

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Monday Memory – Playing the Piano in Jail

Monday, May 1st, 2006

My father was a Methodist Minister.  From the time I was in fourth grade through seventh grade, he was the minister at a wonderful church in a mountain town in North Georgia – Watkins Memorial Methodist Church in Ellijay, GA.  Sometimes he would visit a prison to provide a Sunday afternoon service for the inmates.  It was out in the country, and it seems it was more like a work camp than a typical prison.  Since I could play the piano a bit, I occasionally went with him and played the piano to accompany the singing.  Although my memories of that time are a little fuzzy, I remember eating dinner with the prisoners after the service – sitting in the prison cafeteria next to my father while he talked with the men.  The plates were metal rectangles with sections for different foods.  I also remember feeling perfectly safe and at ease.  The piano at the prison was out of tune and some of the keys stuck, but I was able to do all right.  My father made sure we only sang the songs I knew how to play.  The men there apparently had classes where they did various crafts because one very vague memory is that I was given a leather wallet that one of the prisoners had made. 

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Monday Memory – A Perfect Day at Amicalola Falls

Monday, April 24th, 2006

It was 1978, and my newborn son was only two weeks old. I’d been cooped up in the house since his birth, and I was ready to get out and do something.  It was a lovely autumn day, and PawPaw suggested that we take the baby and his three year old sister and go on a picnic in the mountains to take in the fall scenery. We packed a picnic basket and a diaper bag, grabbed a blanket, and headed a couple hours north to Amicalola Falls – a beautiful park in the north Georgia mountains.

The autumn leaves were spectacular, the weather was sunny and cool, and the sound and sight of the falls were soothing. I remember sitting in the shade on the blanket near the top of the falls, holding the baby in my arms – looking at his perfect and content face – and breathing in the crisp mountain air. I watched PawPaw playing nearby with our daughter.  And, as if it happened merely a minute ago, I remember thinking, “This is the most perfect moment I can imagine.” And it was.

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Monday Memory – The Tooth Fairy

Monday, April 10th, 2006

The other day at school, a third grade girl showed me where she had a lost a tooth the previous day. 

“Did the tooth fairy visit?” I asked.

“Yes,” she replied, “and I got TEN DOLLARS!”

Ah, how times have changed.  I realize my childhood was many years ago – close to fifty years since my early elementary school years when I lost teeth and had the tooth fairy visit.  My childhood tooth fairy was creative.  My brothers and sisters and I usually got a quarter, but we never found a single quarter lying predictably under our pillows.  Instead, we’d get maybe two dimes and a nickel, or five nickels, and each coin would be hidden in a different place in and around the bed – maybe one inside the pillow case, another between the mattress and box spring or one between the sheets at the bottom of the bed.  Losing a tooth meant an exciting search for treasure the next morning.

With my own children, I followed the same idea.  Of course they received more money than I did as a child.  I also threw in the bonus of a scavenger hunt to get their loot.  I sometimes got very elaborate with their hunts.  I’d write rhymed clues, and they’d have to search all over the house to get their tooth fairy money. It’s a nice memory, and I’m glad I took the time to make those occasions special.  I hope my two children – now adults – also remember them with a smile.

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Monday Memory – Reading in First Grade

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

For first grade I attended Fourth Ward Elementary School in Griffin, Georgia.  My teacher was Mrs. Landrum.  There are two things I remember clearly from that year.  First, I remember that we had reading groups.  When it was time for my reading group, we’d sit at a round table with Mrs. Landrum and read.  I don’t recall doing anything around the table other than taking turns reading.  Mrs. Landrum would put a star sticker on the forehead of each child who read well.  My second memory is of running out to the playground with that star sticker on my forehead and just bursting at the seams with pride and happiness.

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