Memories, like the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories . . . la. . . la . . la . . . of the way we were.
It seems that the idea of making memories and remembering memories keeps coming to mind lately. It isn’t unusual for the Lord to work with me in this way. When the same thought keeps showing up in various venues, I just know. One very recent thing that crossed my path was not personal, yet touched my life.
Things like this do not make sense to our conscious minds. Mothers are not supposed to outlive their children was something she shared with me. In addition, where my mind has been lately, I realized that all the memories she has of this son are just that . . . all she has. There will be no more.
We are all making memories in one way or another. We never know on what day or at what hour the last thing we say or do will become the last memory we ever make. When I started thinking about writing, Not Enough Nuts and Raisins, I knew that it was going to be based on some personal memories. Although set in a fictional world, nevertheless woven with real memories.
I recently started a writing class that meets just up the hill in the Wellness Center building associated with the apartment complex I live in. It is a course on writing one’s memoirs. I almost didn’t sign up to take it because my writing is mainly fictional. But it kept coming to my attention and I knew if nothing else, I would enjoy sharing what I write with others of the same persuasion. As I have commented before, people who love to write are a strange lot. It really takes one to know one in this creative art form.
But the class came about at the same time I decided to write NENAR. Sometimes we don’t want to remember things. Sometimes it is good that we do not remember, but more times than not it is a good thing.
With just two classes under my belt and it being the format that it is, I have been struck by how wide the gap there is between various family dynamics. There is one woman who it became quite evident that she had a very ‘natural’ upbringing. She learned music from the flowing of a creek; her color palate was taught by nature. Her mother and father sent her outside to play with the things she found. Manmade toys were rare.
Another woman is a ballerina and she and her brother was raise in a very artistic household. They performed plays, sang, and danced for the family. Her toys were homemade props and costumes made from adult’s hand-me-downs.
And yet another woman’s class assignment revealed being one of ten kids raise on very little. Having to share toys and sometimes making those games and toys up as they went along. I thought it particularly creative on one woman’s part when she said depending on what stage of maturity an ear of corn was at, meant if she had a blonde or brunette cornhusk doll. (For those of you who are not familiar with this thought, the silks became the hair. Blonde silks are formed when the corn is green and growing. It turns brown when the corn is ripe.)
It is extremely hard to envision a child of today finding anything worthwhile in owning a cornhusk doll. One common thread that is running among all of us in this class is that a complete way of life is dying. Standards, morals, integrity, customs, everyday objects, and actions are literally becoming outdated.
As I sit and listen to the others read their stories, it stirs up the same set of feelings. With the passing of every age, we are losing some very valuable memories that we will never get back. At the very beginning of the class, an all too common thread became evident. That most of our younger family members are not interested in hearing these old stories. There were a few who had older adult children who were somewhat encouraging about ‘mom writing her memoirs’. However, most of us shook our heads in agreement that this electronically handicapped era of instant stimulation is robbing this generation of their imagination, and creative abilities. It left us all wondering what kind of memories would be handed down in a few more years.
The other common threads tying this class together become very evident with each student’s arrival. Silver hair, slow gates accompanied by canes, limited hearing, not letting aches or pains keep us from attending, and a look that seems all to familiar in one another’s eyes as stories are shared. Although we have different backgrounds and family settings that are for sure are not the same, yet we understand the necessity of leaving memories. We all know that one day, those in our families, though reluctant today, will be thankful one day when their hair turns silver, to have mom and dad’s memories to read.
Whether woven into fiction, journaled, or written as memoirs . . . we all owe it to one another to not let the memories get lost. When the makers of those memories are gone there will not be any more made to remember.