Memories of a Childhood

There was a hole in the kitchen floor. In my two-year-old mind, it was huge. My family lived in a travel trailer temporarily. I grew up on hundred acres of land with pecan trees and with livestock, horses, chickens, all with a nearby river and wooded area, wild enough for any child’s fantasy. I remember the hole. I avoided it, walked around it, afraid of falling.

I remember picking the pecans when I was three or four. My first experience with money and excitement of commerce. Power.

I remember sitting carefully on the toilet. Mom bought an adapter seat so that I wouldn’t be afraid.

Falling in holes, dropping in toilets, and we can’t forget that I did fall out the door. I was young. Early in the morning, dad was plowing the cornfield. For some reason, he had a bowl that he wanted me to come and get. I was happy to run to help — a good little worker. The door was open, I stood on the edge, and I knew I should sit down and scoot. The steps were tall. Four-year-old little legs can’t leap the way her big brothers do, but I never realized this. So I jumped.

I jumped and missed the steps. The darn surface wasn’t where it was supposed to be. What happened afterward is a blur. There was a pain. Scream causing pain. My arm was pinned under my body and against the concrete steps. People say it doesn’t hurt when you break a bone. Or it hurts worse if you’re an adult. I don’t know what type of weed they’re smoking, because it fuckin’ hurt. I know it didn’t help when everyone else around was yelling and your parents are arguing. I don’t remember this, but they would do this now so I’m sure they did then. I’ve spent Fifty years convincing my mom I was the one at fault. I chose to jump and that dad did not will me to run out to get the bowl but like the faulted people who we are, we stay stuck in our patterns. Dad will remain the blame. The Evil. And I’m not sure where that puts me.

I think I moaned the entire ride to the Tulsa hospital and into the Emergency room. I do remember they had Popsicles, and those were delicious treats of frozen goodness.

I remember the frogs by the river. When the tadpoles came out as new baby frogs, I’d try to catch them. They were everywhere it seemed. Hundreds of them. At that age, I loved frogs and lizards, any critter.

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So many events happened in my life, but there are only a few I remember. I don’t know why I remember these. Why were these highlighted and others shelved? I don’t trust memories anymore. They are wriggly morphing vapors. And if you stare into them believing you will learn something new, you’re only deluding yourself. Memories are packets, and you change them each time you examine at them. And every person who sees an event will see it differently.

The truth of anything is in your feelings. Heal your emotions, and you’ll heal your memories. Yes, it is possible.

Here are a couple of movies:

ReMemory (on Amazon Prime)

The Discovery (on Netflix) Trailer

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I Don’t Build Monuments to My Sorrows

It’s so easy to remember the bad times. It’s easy to sit down and have a good wallow in your pain. Who of us hasn’t? I can’t raise my hand. There are times I catch myself sorting and cataloging my mental memories. What was the particular phrase the person hurt me with? I should have handled it differently. The pain. The loss. The unfairness.

Sorrow hits us all. How we handle it is up to us. It shows what we are made of. Are we going to stuff it away and shut the closet door? Or do we open our big chest of lost dreams and broken promises to reminisce every holiday or special occasion?

We know what a monument is. We have our cemeteries. They help us to remember life is short. And they also remind us of the loves we’ve had. We bring our loved ones gifts of flowers and trinkets, sharing our memories, a slice of yesterday. There is Stonehenge in Britain, Taj Mahal, India’s symbol of love, the Statue of Liberty stands for freedom and the list could go on.

We also have walls of pictures. Our galleries of trophies. Glory days. I have beads from a local cover band from a night out I enjoyed. Ticket stubs from concerts and movies with friends. Every time I see them it takes me back to the fun. I get that giddy feeling that bubbles up. Good times. Good friends. Why I walk.  These trinkets remind me of a life I lived.

Sometimes we tell our kids about their long-lost relatives. The time that their great grampy tried to bake a cake. Or the war hero uncle who bought a doll for us from overseas. We get out the old photos and relive the past. sometimes we laugh and sometimes we cry. These monuments help build a sense of belonging in our children and grandchildren. They let us know we belong. Even though these are bittersweet memories and we have to wipe a tear or two, they still build hope. We are sharing lives and teaching important moments. We are building monuments.

With these good monuments you would think there wouldn’t be any room left over for sad memories, yet we have them. We have monuments and trinkets that remind us of them also. So these days when I slip into that morose mood, I stop myself. There is no reason to keep any item in my house or in my life that makes me sad. If it’s a book, jewelry, clothing, or just a photo and it reminds me of pain or brings me sadness, it has to go. I can either give it away or toss it in the dumpster. If I must keep it, then I store it away. There is no need to build a monument to my pain. Sorrows don’t deserve that much of my energy.

It’s a lot like a river flowing. There’s usually jetties, spots where sticks and leaves, even trash get trapped. Along the sides of the river or around, the large logs and boulders, the water flows through but the twigs get stuck. If there’s a heavy rain it usually washes this all downstream.  Enter friendly beaver. He traps the water intentionally. This is his way of catching a meal. When I get out a favorite picture of someone I love, I’m intentionally collecting energy. It’s love. And the energy floods my entire body and stays with me throughout most of the day. Everyone I bump into or talk to can share bits of this energy. I can use it for my health or put it into a cause I feel strongly about.

In contrast, if I have a bottle of perfume left over from an ex friend or ex boyfriend, I’m constantly remembering that person. I stew over the last fight we had. I feel the pang of my loss. And it’s not healthy for me, much like picking the scab off of a wound or bathing in sewer water. I have no room in my life to remember hatred. I have no room for holding on to grievances.

Mostly I choose reminders of joy and love. I put them up on my mirrors and tuck them into drawers where I’ll bump into them. Like the glow-in-the-dark skeleton gloves I found in my sock drawer from a Halloween party I went to years ago. Good times.