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Friday, 10 July 2009

Two Memories

By Brenton "Sandy" Dickson

September 1942
Sitting in a circle beneath the towering ceiling of what had once been part of a large horse stable, fifteen of us were drinking fresh lemonade, munching on crumbling toll house cookies, laughing, joking and chattering, while Miss Cervi struggled to maintain a semblance of order.

Streaming in through the tall, east-facing windows, the warm, early morning September sun lit up the room, while the sound of a distant lawn mower competed with the cawing of a flock of nearby crows.

A door opened behind me and two females, hand in hand, strode in. The mother had all she could handle. Her daughter, Caroline, did not want to be there. Howling, jumping up and down, screaming and kicking, she fought desperately to get away. I so wished I could help her. Why should she have to be there if she didn’t want to be?

Beneath her short, brown, wavy hair, tears poured over her flush cheeks, down her nose, in and around her dimples, off her chin and on to her clean, freshly pressed black and white dress. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to hold her. But these were not proper feelings. At least not for a four-and a-half-year-old boy, and certainly not on his first day of kindergarten!

April 2, 2009
Another funeral. Almost all my parent's generation were now gone.

The aroma from blooming daffodils and cherry blossoms drifted into the church hall. Sipping my iced tea and nibbling on a freshly made, cucumber, finger sandwich, a tall, attractive woman approached me. It was Caroline. I hadn't seen her for years.

For a brief moment, I drifted back 66 years to our first day of kindergarten. I saw her jumping up and down, struggling, and bawling. I heard headmistress Cervi suggest to her mother that she just leave. I saw the shock on Caroline’s face as her last means of escape walked out the door. I saw her shut up, sit down, dry her eyes and begin to “live happily ever after.”

After fondly remembering the deceased, our conversation moved to sailing, to her poetry and to her divorce. Then we spoke of another recent death - that of a mutual friend whom she knew much better than I.

He'd had a miserable and painful ending, suffering for more than a year and a half with Lou Gehrig's disease. Gradually losing control of all his muscles and all of his bodily functions while his imprisoned mind remained fully conscious and alert.

Outwardly smiling as we talked, deep within her soft blue eyes I saw and I felt her compassion and how much she missed him. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to hold her. I wanted to kiss her. But these were not proper feelings. At least not for a 71-year-old man, and certainly not as he was about to celebrate his 45th wedding anniversary!

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Tenderly and vividly written. Thank you.

Lots of powerful memories in a few short paragraphs.

The walls we humans build...

Well done, a joy to read!

Recently, much too recently a good and honorable man was laid to rest.

The family gathered, and super- imposed upon the faces of the sons and daughters [grown men and women now] were themselves as the children they had been, and whom, as their Aunt I had known so well.

Dimensions of time - twilight time.

A very sweet story of loving memories. Thank you, Sandy.

I so enjoyed your story and so beautifully told.

I loved your story of the continuity of memory. Beautifully done.

A lovely way to bring thoughts of her together. She must occupy a special place in your heart.

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