Oddments

In search of story


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Connections: October 22.17

I groped for the word: appalling? scary? astonishing? embarrassing? All the above?

This is one of two units in which the stuff of my life is stored. You know, dear reader: stuff? It isn’t life but it becomes life. Doesn’t it? It tells of people you miss. It tells of the daily. It’s the familiar, the comfortable, the personal.

It’s easy to scoff at mere things. They are, after all, temporary. But they are also deeply a part of us. So I stand in absolute terror at the base of this mountain of things. It stretches floor to ceiling and wall to wall — in two units! What will I keep? What must go? How did this happen? What will I do about it all?

But, more important, what do I need? My writing mate Tamara is a minimalist. She and her husband have amazingly pared their life down to necessity. They have by example taught me to re-think ownership. That will enter into this. Also I think I’ve reached a time in life where the letting-go begins. Ironically, a holding-tight happens at the same time. I want to hold tight to memory even as I want to let go of the things that hold the memory.

Thus tension.

I might have a house to go to; I’ll know more in a few days. If so, the whittling begins. Look out for shavings!

 

 

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Connections: October 18.17

I call this Still Life With Mess.

Not that life ever stands still, though at times it seems to. But there is ever a mess. That is, unless we’re sitting around on our…umm…hands.

These three artifacts just happened to end up together as the movers plied their art, and of course I couldn’t help noticing the serendipity. The wonderful pine cone and seed wreath was made years ago by my dear friend Donna, and is one of my favorite things. The assembly-line autumn wreath has been fabulous on my front door here, if I do say so. The decrepit, ancient suitcase was my Aunt Edna’s and holds her academic cap and hood (the heavy velvet and gold of Ph.D.). To the left, the back of a print procured for me at a condo swap by my son and daughter-in-law because my son knew it was my favorite Ansel Adams.

What a mishmash life is.

Today I will leave this place that has been Grandma’s House for seven years. There is some melancholy. But another, smaller Grandma’s House awaits, and both grandchildren have given it a thumbs-up (as have I). So bear with me, dear reader, as I launch myself (albeit, it must be said, a trifle arthritically) into whatever comes next.

 

 

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Connections: October 13.17

Economy of words

is not my strongest suit

I’m Irish, blather-minded,

an English major to boot.

But occasionally I’ll do it

say it all in just one word

here’s syllable to prove it

in a box of the absurd.

Packing up my years

forces me to see

in wording and in living

downsizing is the key.

 

 

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Connections: September 15.17

I am so old

that I can remember

a time we decorated

only in December.

What were we thinking?

Why didn’t we see

the whole twelve months

celebratorially?

 

 

Thanks again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives

and to the D.J. Berg sense of celebration.

Connections

 

 


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Connections: September 9.17

Carousels, cupolas

hexagonal rooms

houses with frosting

universal heirlooms

fantasies, wishes

we want to hold on

to the horse and the magic

lest they one day be gone.

 

 

More thanks to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives,

Fernandina Beach (Florida) Gallery.

When I started to write this, I was not thinking of Irma, Harvey, Jose, Katia.

Now I am.

Connections

 


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Connections: September 1.17

 

I took my own advice. Except instead of seeking out a shady park to watch kids, I went to my granddaughter’s junior-high tennis match.

I sat with her and her team. Granny on the bleachers! I got to tell them about how, back in the day, my friend Connie and I devised our own scoring system: the more bounces, the more points. (It worked for us.) That was their first look of wonder. Like at a museum.

I was overwhelmed by energy, smartphones, sketchbooks, never-ending chatter, good spirits, water bottles, and a desperate search for quarters for popcorn. And by the saintliness of good coaches.

I learned I can confound at least eight junior-high kids at one time by pronouncing it “Annie May” instead of “Anna May.” (“Yes, I know what anime is!” Grandma growled. “But who is Anna May?”) That was their second look of wonder.

I got to use one of my best retorts before an audience: “Well, YOU don’t know what pop-it beads were!” That gets her every time. Their third look of wonder.

In one of my former lives, I taught junior high, and, sitting there amid the cacophony and hormonal mayhem, I was reminded of why I loved that age. They are full of life and imagination and hilarity.

I don’t think my look was one of wonder but rather of gratitude.

There is hope. Lots of it.

 

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