Tag: memories

At the end of Sunset

My father used to live in a duplex apartment at the end of Sunset Ave. in Bloomington.

The street was aptly named.

I took this photo six years ago, when Dad was pretty healthy and strong. He may have been visiting his sister in Atlanta on this day.

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Shopping blues

I tell people my MS symptoms aren’t that bad. Many people with the disease have it much worse than I do. All that is true, but for me it’s the small inconveniences that get me down.

Shop ’till I drop

Shopping for clothes used to be fun. I can’t count how many hours I spent with my mother in malls and big retail stores. I remember us going around looking for bargains on back-to-school wear. Designer jeans were a must for me in the early 80s. I owned the requisite headbands, neon sweatshirts, and even a pair of parachute pants.

Tangent

The blogger in 1980s attire.

I’m reminded of how much I loved paging through Seventeen Magazine. I thought that having the right clothes would make me feel the way the models looked. Unfortunately, trying to emulate those fashion models only led me to feel too fat and not pretty enough.

Anyway

These days shopping is difficult because MS fatigue makes it so. Things will be fine for the first 15 or 20 minutes of being in the store. If I know exactly what I’m looking for, I can make my purchases and get out without a problem.

Trip to Goodwill

I went to Goodwill the other day. The goal was to buy some jeans. I like shopping for clothes there because it feels like it’s somewhat removed from the sweatshop produced clothing that I might find in one of the popular chain stores.

So, I easily found some jeans (supposedly) in my size. I brought 5 pairs to the dressing room. Two fit and three did not. I was beginning to tire at this point, but I was on a mission.

I found another four pairs and went back to the dressing room. This time all of the selections fit (for the most part).

Now my legs are fairly fatigued and my balance is getting a little wobbly. The hard part was over, but I could use some tops. So now I’m browsing the shirt racks while holding six pairs of jeans. Luckily my husband is there to relieve me of my load while I continue shopping.

Finally, I decide to call it quits. We head to the checkout and stand in line. My walk to the car is slow and careful. Uneven surfaces are not my friend.

Time to go home and sit for about half an hour. I’ll have to rest before taking a shower, because that can take a lot out of me too.

Ragtag Daily Prompt #81: Tender

tender Ragtag Daily Prompt (RDP) #81

She has no memories of being an infant. Some people claim they can recall those early years, but she thinks they are fooling themselves.

She has seen pictures of her mother and father cradling her in their arms. The love they feel for this tiny human is in their smiles and in their eyes. She can’t remember being this baby, but the photos are proof that she came here for a reason.

At the age of 47, she now understands that she must treat herself tenderly. She will do this for herself and to honor those people who held her so closely for so many years.

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Elsa, Bill, and Laura.

Too many photos 

We’ve moved my dad’s stuff out of his apartment. He lives at a assisted living facility now.

Anyway, a big part of dealing with his possessions is going through thousands of photos. He’s been an avid amateur photographer for over sixty years, so there are a ton of prints, slides, and negatives to go through. The photos are not organized in any way, so for now, I’m going through albums and removing prints and putting them in photo storage boxes. I am throwing some (but not nearly enough) away. I hope to digitize some of them, and many are already digitized. Someday, someone will have the job of getting rid of them after I go to that photo booth in the great beyond.

Continue reading “Too many photos “

The Beach in Jamaica

The prompt is beach.

When I was a child some of my vacations were spent on the island of Jamaica, my mother’s home country. While there, we spent a lot of time driving around to visit family. Those visits always seemed to involve talking about who had died. I remember eating a lot of fruit cake on those visits.

The beach we usually went to is Turtle Beach in Ocho Rios. My memories of that beach have all blended together. I can see a lot of sand and taste the salty water. There is a shopping center adjacent to the beach offering souvenir type items. It seems like we spent a fair amount of time there. I also remember a guy asking my dad if he wanted to buy some drugs. I was shocked!

Beach on north coast of Jamaica. Photo by William S. McCain.
Beach on north coast of Jamaica. Photo by William S. McCain.

 

 

This Thistle

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This morning was wet, warm, soft, and gray.
I parked in the lot adjacent to the torn-down buildings and climbed out of the car with my purse, lunch bag, and iPad bag slung over my shoulder and across my chest. My iPhone was nested in the back pocket of my jeans, earbuds plugged in and stuck in my ears.

I began my walk to the CIB (IU’s Cyber Infrastructure Building), the place I work. I stepped from pavement, to grass, to concrete, to the dirt that used to be under the recently demolished Wrubel Computing Center (a place that I used to work).

I saw this dying thistle in the tall native grass that adorns the sides of the Data Center building. It was standing solitary among its browning surroundings.

I don’t know if this thistle was planted intentionally by an IU groundskeeper, or is the product of some wayward seed. Perhaps a bird, hoping to contribute to the landscape, brought this thistle here.

In any case, I saw it and was beguiled by its strange beauty. I say strange because this thistle’s beauty was not conventional. It appears to be dying, breathing its last few breaths of the summer. We’re not supposed to see beauty in death, but isn’t death a part of the cycle of life that we claim is so beautiful?

So I stopped and took some iPhone photos. For the first, I was standing too close. I edged closer and snapped another. I tried two more from different angles. The second shot, the best shot, is the one you see here. I think that the grayness of the morning enhanced the purple; or is it lavender or some other color?

The photo doesn’t begin to do the thistle justice. Seeing it with my own eyes evoked emotion, brought me closer to the infinite. Yes, I really do believe that. But the photo is all I have. My memory of those moments I spent looking at this thistle are fading. They fade with every passing second.

Tomorrow, this source of enchantment will be different. I may take a different path so as not to see it and face disappointment. I may pass it again and find it to be even more beautiful. I may encounter a new source of enchantment to photograph. Or I may walk all the way to the CIB with my head down, carefully watching my steps so as not to get tripped by those ever changing surfaces.

Home movies

There’s always something to write about. Whether or not it’s interesting is for the reader to decide. I guess the writer is also entitled to her opinion, but even if she thinks what comes out on the screen isn’t interesting, she’s duty-bound to keep writing. No one ever died from reading boring prose did they?

But that’s not the point. What I want to talk about is the home movie footage I watched with Ernie and my Dad this evening. It started with scenes of me riding a big wheel down a sidewalk and then doing poorly executed cartwheels. My head actually touched the ground! I’m much better at cartwheels now and I can even do them on both sides. Isn’t it funny how we can do things on one side or with one hand better than we can with the other? It’s perfectly understandable, but funny. Ha ha…

Anyhoo, other scenes on this tape which was converted from super 8 format, include the family driving on roads in Jamaica and me and Mom hanging out at my grandfather’s home in Jamaica.
There was a moment when the 5 or 6 year old me ran to my mother and took her hand. The 41 year old me felt a twinge of that connection I had with my mother. I almost cried because for a moment I remembered what it was like to be that little girl who relied on her mother for everything, the little girl who was everything to her mother. I wish I could go back to that time. I think things were better then. If I could live those years, maybe 1974-78, over and over like in a Twilight Zone episode I think I would.

There would be a catch though. I know there were things about my childhood that weren’t wonderful and perfect and I’m sure this Twilight Zone episode would focus on those parts. I’d have to relive the bad stuff over and over again as punishment for refusing to grow up and grow old. But wouldn’t it be nice not to have deadlines for work, and money trouble, and health issues, and all the other crap that comes with adulthood? Being a grown-up is dumb! I think this is why people do drugs. Just to escape this harsh reality we live in.

Went on a weird tangent there didn’t I?

There are things about life that are just wonderful and I know it. My puppy (she’s a little over a year old now) is one them. She is crazy about me. It’s just amazing to come home everyday and have someone there who is so happy to see you that they just go crazy. She jumps on me, she puts my hand in her mouth, she just can’t get enough of me. I’m looking at her now from across the room and I think I need to stop writing and giver her some attention. So I will. She loves me for me, and she doesn’t care that I’m trying to be a writer.

Here’s yet another picture of my Sadie.

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Remembering

I remember my childhood in snapshots, and I’ve been seeing those pictures in my mind a lot lately. I miss those days. If I could go back and live again in that simpler time, I would. In my memories it’s always spring or summer. Colors were brighter, days were longer, everything I had was given to me. I’m all grown up now and sometimes life feels like a struggle. Is it wrong to wish for a return to childhood? Or does wishing for the impossible fuel my feeling of dissatisfaction with my current reality?

My Snapshots

  • The yard across from our town house had a pretty big kiddie pool. It was big enough that they had a slide for it. I don’t know that I ever got in that pool, but I remember seeing it.
  • Some pink plastic high-heeled shoes made for little  girls to play dress up. I got it for my birthday (maybe the 5th). I think it came with a little pink parasol too.  I loved umbrellas when I  was little. I remember having a clear plastic dome type umbrella with Peanuts characters on it. There are many pictures of me holding an umbrella.
Laura with umbrella
Laura with umbrella
  • I see myself riding my new bike around in circles in our two-car driveway. I think I remember cutting the corner too close and falling.
  • My best friend Carrie and I would go up to the creek in the woods behind our houses and catch salamanders. We felt like real pioneers in those woods.  We would even swing across the creek on a vine that hung over it. I’m surprised it never broke and sent us crashing onto the ground. We always came home safe.
  • I remember going shopping with my mother for a pair of clogs. I guess clogs were all the rage, and it was important that I kept up with my peers.  It seems we drove quite a distance to another part of town. I loved those shoes. They were brown with leather uppers and the rest was wood.
  • It seems that Mom and I once went to a Hardees, or some similar place, on that side of town. We got our hamburgers, got back in the car, and I started crying. I had ordered a plain hamburger. but they gave me one with ketchup and mustard. I was devastated. Mom, who thought I had perhaps been stung by a bee, was quite worried. I’m not sure if we took the hamburger back or not.

I could go on and on recounting these memories. but I won’t. There are more of them than I realized.

For now, I suppose I should focus on the new memories I’m making. I think I’ll try to keep writing about them.