Recent weather reports from the nor’easters blasting the eastern coastline as well as the storms to the north of us in Washington state brought back memories. As I watched the news, I was taken back to the year 1951.
To a child’s delight, snow began to fall on January 28, 1951, as did a lot of ice in the form of freezing rain (to no adult’s delight). Winds blew taking down power poles. Roads were blocked by fallen trees. How little I knew about the wildness and harm of it all. Continue reading →
Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt—PRESENT—leads me.
Likely many are thinking of the list of presents they need to buy, wrap, ship, or deliver. In our family, we’ve created a new process, thanks to the pandemic.
However, before I share that with you, I’d like to tell you about the decision my husband and I landed on some three decades ago. Each Christmas I’d make a list of things I Continue reading →
I couldn’t come to grips with writing a new post this week. Something or Someone advised me to step back and take a self-care breather.
So, I’ve pulled this one from the 2015 archives, brushed it up a bit, and offer it to you on this Easter weekend in 2020. The memory is one of my childhood favorites. It always comes to mind during the week before Easter.
One Easter Sunday stands out in my mind above all others. The year 1950. I was around age four. Dressing up was a highlight to most little girls, especially around Easter.
Easter meant a visit from the Easter Bunny with baskets filled with eggs and jelly beans and always a chocolate bunny. And it almost always meant new clothes. This particular Easter meant a new pair of black patent leather Mary Janes. I was proud and excited to wear them. I thought Sunday would never come.
Finally, Sunday came. Up early to check out what was left by the Easter Bunny, eat breakfast, brush our teeth, and then dress for church.
That’s when it all fell apart. I heard Mama and Daddy talking. Well, maybe arguing.
“She cannot wear those shoes. Can’t you see it snowed last night?”
Oh, no! Mama was telling Daddy I couldn’t wear my new shoes. If I hurried, I could get dressed and have my new shoes on before they finished.
“Honey, the snow isn’t that deep.” Hurray for Daddy! But Mama was having none of it.
Finally, Daddy saved the day. He told Mama if she felt it was too messy to wear the new shoes, he would carry me from the house to the car, from the car to the church, and reverse his plan when it was time to come home.
I’ll never forget wearing those shiny new shoes. But above all, I’ll never forget how loved I felt when Daddy reached down with his long arms, picked me up, and carried me to the car and into church that morning. I like to think it was Daddy’s way of showing me the unconditional love of God.
With family coming for a visit this past weekend, we decided it was time to work on catching up on a bit of housekeeping. This would be my first serious effort at helping Husband Bob do household chores. I’m happy to report my catching up on housework exercise worked out A-OK for a newbie (that’s what they call you after a four-year hiatus from your duties!).
Early Friday evening our niece and her husband arrived for the weekend. Our niece was attending the Rose City Comic Con. Her publisher provided a booth for authors to sell and sign books. With a new book out,* she wanted to take part. Their visit provided us with time to catch up on family and memories. Lovely house guests create a feeling of successful hospitality. We hope they’ll return for another visit when we can take in a few wineries in the area.
On Saturday night, we were happy to hear the sound of rain hitting the roof. Our summer had been so dry we desperately needed the rain. It spent Sunday catching up with the rainfall deficit. Despite a dark day, it felt good to know that this rainfall might actually be enough to make a difference. A few candles lit brightened things up.
Catching up is always a good thing as long as you’re not the object of a hunter like the tiny mouse in the photo above.
Our phone seldom rings. A couple of days ago, I was a bit startled by its sudden intrusion.
I looked at my phone and saw the caller was my older brother. Since I’d not heard from him for several years, I was stunned. Thoughts came to mind that he’d just passed his 87th birthday. Maybe something was wrong.
Thinking back it was funny that I reacted so quickly with the idea it might be bad news. In fact, it turned out to be the opposite. He said he needed to talk to somebody who could remember back to the 1950s or 1960s. The next words out of his mouth were to the effect that I was the “last one left” to help him figure out a few things.
How could I be the one? He was 14 when I was born. How much could I remember about his life? We went on talking about the past and the people in our lives. It’s not clear to me whether I ever answered his questions or not. We shared stories and what we could both remember made for a great conversation.
He ended our call by saying he’d be calling again soon, and he apologized for not keeping in touch. Those words were a beautiful gift.
It’s amazing what you can remember if you have someone to talk with who also might remember a time or a place. But with 14 years between us, I never thought it possible.
On Sunday our church welcomed a new senior pastor and head of staff and his family into our church family. We’ve been looking forward to this day and hearing our new pastor’s first message. I never expected it to take me to a post on writing memoir. Imagine our surprise when we looked in our bulletin and saw the sermon topic: “Apocalypse Now?” A follower of his blog since we called him in November, I recognized this as resembling Brian’s blog title, “apocalypso now.” But still…
Following the morning Scripture reading, Brian began his delivery. Using his natural sense of humor, he took us through a litany of apocalyptic elements–natural disasters, serious illnesses, movies, life experiences, and more. But still…
“Apocalypse” defined ~
And then for the first time, at least for me, our pastor defined the word “apocalypse” as a revealing, disclosure, lifting the veil, prophetic, unexpected. I always thought of an apocalypse as cataclysmic, disastrous, catastrophic, world-ending. Never did I think it related to my life in any way. But Brian kept talking…
As his sermon took off, Brian shared from his personal life. Early in the life of their son, Ian, Brian and his wife, Kirsten, learned Ian was autistic. They were told if he didn’t speak by age seven, he would never speak at all. Apocalyptic? For them, yes! It brought forward a torrent of questions: Why Ian? Why us? What do we do now? How will we cope?
Suddenly, like a slide show, my life memories began to process. Never before considered apocalyptic, I looked at life scenes included in the current draft of my memoir: verbal and emotional abuses in childhood, parental manipulation, dropping out of college due to illness, divorce, single-parenting, blending a family, several spinal surgeries and more, the loss of my wordsmith and mentor to a savage dementia, but nothing on par with what so many others have suffered. And yet…
Advent fits into this how?
There has always been a revealing, a new journey, a time of preparing for changes, transformation, light shining in a new way waiting somewhere. Yes! Like Advent!
Advent–a time of preparation, waiting, candlelight, the coming King, the hope of a bright star–the season that began Sunday. The time before Christmas.
Most of us spend the four weeks before Christmas in a hustle and bustle, hurried and harried state. Shopping, wrapping, shipping, decorating, baking, partying–wearing ourselves out. Never slowing down to appreciate the fact something big is on the horizon. A day of celebration so apocalyptic it changed the world.
Mining our memories for writing memoir ~
And this is how I realized that, for me at least, the words “advent” and “apocalyptic” relate to the writing of memoir.
To write memoir we research our minds and as archeologists of the mental turf, we uncover apocalyptic memories of life, whether good or bad, to write what we know as the truth about our lives. In a sense, we prepare, wait, hope for memories to surface and fill pages of a book. As well, the apocalyptic in our lives is sad or joyful, happy or glum, painful or healing.
As an advocate of writing to heal, I see these two words as meaningful to the memoir process in that we dig for that which we see as important to our lives and memories. In the process of gathering and writing, we begin to heal. Perhaps another apocalyptic event in our lives. Maybe another light that shines in the darkness of our past. I believe this is the thread connecting memoir writing to the words “advent” and “apocalyptic.”
For now, I intend to listen carefully to our new pastor, not only a man of the cloth but also a lover of words and a writer. I think I may learn a thing or two…maybe three!
What thoughts came to you as you read my post? I’d love to know. Anything you want to share may be left in the comment section below.
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