adventure, childhood, connections, friends, kids, life, life goes on, memories, photography

Old friends…

There was, after all, a lot to lose. My most treasured memories stem from the neighborhood that I lived in from ages 4 to 9. It doesn’t look at all the same now, it seems to have shrunk. I know this because I drove past it this weekend. I was there to visit with my lifelong best friend, but also to spend a little time at ‘home’. But there was also the fact that a few months ago my sister contacted my constant partner in crime from back in those days. It was a fluke that she spotted him online, and once she messaged me that she had contacted him I was tempted to contact him, but also a little afraid. All my life, it seems, when I would roll out a favorite memory of mine, my mother would jump in and insist that I had it all wrong. I would see it perfectly clearly in my head, but be told that I was wrong. Then when my daughter got to be about 12 or so I found myself in the same situation, my memories being corrected by my daughter. Clearly my memory was suspect. To my mind, back then we were like the kids in the Charlie Brown cartoons, with parents who were vaguely in the background. We were free, to climb trees, and swing on a rope swing out over the river, and there was even a garage roof we used to jump off of, grabbing a young tree trunk that would bounce us up and down a few times before we let let go, and then we would climb back onto the roof to do it again. I don’t recall sneaking to do these things, it was just what we did. If our parents knew it seemed to be okay. Even when my shoe fell off as I rode the rope swing over the river, I only remember watching it float away, I don’t remember going home to confess.

So making contact ran the risk of ruining those memories I’ve hung onto for all these years. To be told I was wrong, or, worse, to be greeted with a blank stare. But from my sister I did know that he remembered us, that much was a plus. But still it took me a month of thinking about it to actually message him, and over the weekend we were finally together. It is at least 60 years later, and those years most definitely have taken their toll on us both, but that cherished connection was still there. I think all the kids who grew up in that neighborhood in the 50s remember it the exact same way. It was a perfect time to be a kid. I thought we ought to climb a tree, but instead we talked, and talked, and talked some more. He told my sister that I was the first girl he ever kissed. I don’t think we said goodbye 60 years ago, we were still so young. But we kissed goodby this time, that same sort of kiss as from 60 years ago. He laughed and said that now I’m the first and also the last girl he’s ever kissed. I still think that next time we meet we ought to climb a tree…4-9Nausetlight

family, humor, kids, life, memories, moments, photography

Sweet memories…

I once saw a Smith Family cartoon in the Sunday paper that was just perfect, I so wish I had saved it. It showed the little boy hurting his knee while out playing, and then you see all the places he stopped and played on his way home. But once he hit the door and saw his Mom he clutched his knee and started crying. This cartoon came to mind when my son burst through the door one day, and fell on the floor outside the kitchen door and rolled around clutching his knee. I was amused, he was too old for such dramatics, and I was thinking about how to react when he got up and stomped his way upstairs. Evidently his knee wasn’t that bad, I thought, so that was good. I continued with whatever I had been doing, and after a little bit I was surprised, and more than a little amused, when I heard him stomp his way back down again. He was still mad, obviously. He stood in the doorway, hands on his hips, and as indignantly as a 9 year old could manage he said, “If I joined the Army… and I got shot… and I called you up and told you about it… you’d probably tell me to rub it and it will feel better!”
When he got to the part where he called me I couldn’t help it, I started laughing, and he got madder, which made me laugh even more, and finally he couldn’t stand it and started laughing also. I wonder if he remembers that favorite moment of mine.  If I ever get dementia I hope that’s the last memory I lose. He was a fun kid to raise.
In the year that I knew her I told my raising-the-kids stories to Mary Ann, my friend and former nun, and she enjoyed a little glimpse into family life. Some of the stories I told her caused her to be glad she had never married, “So that’s what I missed”, she’d say. Talking with her brought back memories of things I hadn’t thought of in years, wonderful memories, and I wonder if they might have been lost forever if not for her. I told her that our becoming friends had done as much for me as it had for her, maybe more…

1-3in1972

dogs, fun, grandchildren, kids, life, memories, photography, travel, weather

Happy feet…

I last went north a year and a half ago for my granddaughter’s college graduation. Since I was heading that way I got a ‘since you are coming anyhow’ request from my son, could I head there (NY) first and stay with the kids for the weekend while they headed to FL for a wedding?  I was happy to do it.  But I didn’t anticipate that turning on the oven to heat up a slice of pizza and then noticing that the puppy had pooped on the foyer floor, would result in the smoke alarm going off during the poop clean up, which caused me to hurriedly flush said poop, causing the toilet to overflow… and my grandson to call down from upstairs, “Is everything alright down there, Mimi?” Eventually it was, with help from the kids..
I’m reliving that memory because my other take-away from that weekend was that I spent it freezing to death. At the end of May! So I went on a quest for warm slippers, and these were the only ones to be found, and they caused my daughter and granddaughter to roll their eyes at my fashion choices. I didn’t care, I think the only place I went during that visit that I didn’t wear them was the actual graduation itself.
Lucky for me I was straightening my closet and discovered them, just in time for them to save me from our current cold spell in FL. My friend Kathy said she’d have to dig deep to feel sorry for me while I suffered through our 50-something degree weather. So my fashion choices for the day are the slippers, jeans, and Charley’s huge #1 Pop Pop sweatshirt, which is the only sweatshirt I can put my hands on at the moment. The dogs think I look just fine, and they also think it’s time to go out…

birds, childhood, Florida wildlife, fun, kids, moments, nature, photography, Pine Island, sunset

The girl in the pink shirt…

Whenever I go out for the sunset I honestly don’t know what photos will make their way into the camera.  How could I have known that this little girl and her dad would be at Pine Island last night?  Or that they would be by themselves across the beach?

I was by myself also, standing alone and in plain sight, with my camera pointed at them and clicking away.  The dad was looking in my direction at least, I have to assume that he realized that I was taking pictures of them.  I planned to ask him if I could send him some, but later on when I looked for them I didn’t see them.  It would have been hard to miss that little one in the pink shirt, so I suppose they didn’t stay for the sunset.  She made my night…

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childhood, kids, memories, moments, nature, photography, simple things

Fall leaves…

1025fallleaf2We are having some blissfully cool weather here on the Nature Coast the last couple of days.  Enough so that I decided to walk the dogs yesterday after work, which made them happy, but I was glad I did also.  Glad because I had totally forgotten about the huge fallen leaves I always see this time of year when we pass this corner.  And even though I didn’t anticipate it there it was, just waiting for me.  The most perfect leaf on the ground, pretty color, just enough curl to it to crunch it underfoot in one stomp.  And I did.  Stomp it I mean.  And as soon as I did it I realized that I should have taken a picture, because I knew I couldn’t resist talking about it.  There is something soul satisfying to hear that crunch as you step on a leaf.  It’s not something I’ve had much opportunity to do in my adult years, but when I do I turn back into a 7 year old walking up South Street in Brockton, MA, heading to Huntington Elementary.  I used to take great pleasure in crunching every leaf in my path, and there was no shortage of them on South St.  I’ve actually condensed the memory into thinking that I was crunching through the leaves on the first day of school, but that doesn’t seem likely as I think about it.  Doesn’t matter.  That sound does my heart good.  I’m off today so the dogs will get another walk, or two, and I can’t wait to crunch a few more leaves.

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