Posts Tagged ‘memories’

I just went back to bathe in the golden glow of blogger KerryCan’s early summer memories here. I’ve been planning to take her up on the idea of sharing a childhood summer photo and letting train of thought take over.

KerryCan says she and her cousins had “absolutely nothing to worry about except breaking a plastic flip flop or getting sticky drips of Popsicle running down an arm,” which doesn’t quite fit my childhood. But I was always looking forward and believing something nice was coming.

I began dreaming of Fire Island in January or so — creating a paper pocket on our front door with Ocean Beach postcards tucked in and badgering grown-ups with “When are we going?”

And goodness knows, I dearly loved the ocean, swimming every day in my early teens unless there was a red warning flag. On choppy mornings, I might be the only one out there in front of the lifeguards.

Here I am at about age 10 with the older of my two brothers, probably competing for who could run fastest.

I didn’t learn until I was practically a grandmother that some kinds of competition with him might be ill-advised — like the time I tried to bend back my thumb the way his joints allow him to and ended up with a trigger finger and a hand operation! Ha, ha. Laughing now.

On this Atlantic beach, we used to dig for the tiny armadillo-like mole crabs that we called “jumpies.” Where are they now?


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Here is Suzanne the one year we cut our own tree. I think she had the most fun of the four of us. The thermos had hot chocolate.

We set our sights on smaller trees nowadays, and my husband just put this year’s in the stand. I’ve been gearing up to decorate, first looking through the ornaments. It’s like greeting old friends after a year. Some of them are very familiar and beloved, but I can’t remember their stories. Here are a few whose stories I do remember.

The big red one on the lower step: from the Crafts for Christmas class I took the year we were married. Amazing what you can do cutting up egg cartons!

The sparkly tear-drop shape and the doorknob cover: from the church’s craft workshop when John and Suzanne were young. The angel with sequins: made by Aunt Mae in her 90s. She also made the smiling snowman backed by a green star and many other items — in secret, to surprise everyone. The round milk-bottle-cap ornament: don’t get me started now on highly educated women with no occupation spending their time on that. But I like to think of the woman who made it, with sympathy.

The soldier with John’s name on it: that was a gift from Aunt Peggy.

The Esperanto green star: from a friend in my Esperanto group. The two crocheted Chinese dolls: from a trip to the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake when Suzanne was about 1. My husband went to see a Shaw play while I babysat. I went to see hilarious concert comedienne Anna Russell while he babysat.

The bear: John was 3, and I was spending considerable time in graduate classes. John insisted my husband make a bear ornament just like that one out of cardboard. We have that too, somewhere. It doesn’t look just like that one, but we love it.

The Clymers brought the saddle from a trip to South America. John stitched the cross-stitch tree at a ridiculously young age (3? 4?).

The see-through snowball: a gift at DeAnna’s December wedding to Mairtin at the Peabody-Essex Museum.



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When I take down the tree, I like to allow myself time.

Time to unroll the strings of lights and re-roll them in tissue paper. Time to lift off the sparkly cobwebs of tinsel and store them in a basket for another day.

Time for the ornaments, nearly every one eliciting a memory of something.

The small wreath of green and red puff balls that Suzanne made in the First Parish craft workshop (attended by nearly every kid in town, regardless of religion). The cross-stitch embroidery John made with hardly any help at age 3 or 4. The fishing tackle box and the saxophone representing past interests. The smiley felt-and-sequin jobs that 90-something Aunt Mae kept secret until Christmas. The coffee grinder for my husband. The goofy red ornament that I made from egg cartons when I was first married. The bird-in-a-nest that is supposed to bring good luck. The Chinese doll I got at Niagara-on-the-Lake the year we took turns babysitting the kids in order to see shows at the G.B. Shaw festival. The frosty ball from DeAnna’s winter wedding. And my new “tradition,” quotations hung on a ribbon.

I am the only person who remembers the things I remember exactly the way I remember them; you are the only person who remembers the things you remember exactly the way you remember them.

taking the tree down


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