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Posts tagged ‘memories’

5/13 Weekly Creativity Challenge and New Prompt

As the only two entries this week, Cathy Coley and Kelly Warren take the prize for perseverence!  🙂  Cathy shared a fun poem, while Kelly wrote an essay of memories. 

From Cathy Coley:


My mother has a cackle
to shame crows and grackles.
I inherited it from her.

But even more than the laugh itself
is the ability to laugh out loud
from toes and bellies,
and to spin legendary hilarious stories
from simple mishaps;
to survive, even when surviving
Doesn’t seem like the better option.

But to do so, we laugh.

From me (Kelly):

girls at zooWhen I snapped this picture of my girls and their friends on a recent field trip at the zoo, another picture immediately popped in my head. In my memory, that picture was of my mom and a group of her friends sitting outside their high school. Sometimes Sarah looks so much like my mom as a child, it’s scary. I searched for the picture for days, knowing that I wanted to compare the two, and when I finally found it, I realized it wasn’t of Mom and her friends. It was of Nana and her friends! In my search, however, I came across another group picture of Mom that I don’t ever recall seeing before. It’s funny how a simple picture can tell so many stories and bring back so many memories, while at the same time leave you with so many unanswered questions.

Nana group028Nana looks to be about 14 or 15 in her picture; there’s no date on the back, just “Wimauma High School” in her handwriting.  She’s on the far left, looking much like me, actually.  She would have been 15 in 1941, four years before Mom was born.  What was her life like at 15 in the small town of Wimauma, just outside of Tampa, Florida?  Had she met my Granddaddy yet?  It looks to be summer in the picture, so Pearl Harbor still sat peacefully shining in the Hawaiian sun.  How did she feel when the calendar turned to December 7, 1941?  She had three sisters and a brother.  Did Uncle Oscar go off to war?  He was older than she, so I can only assume he did.  He died before I was born (one of our more colorful family stories as I understand he was murdered running moonshine), but I have many memories of Nana’s sisters, particularly Aunt Livy, my Olivia’s namesake.  At 88 this August, Aunt Livy is my oldest living relative.  I look forward to spending some time with her this summer hearing all the stories of her youth…stories I didn’t think to ask Nana about before she sunk heavily into Alzheimer’s.  Nana died just three weeks after my girls were born, yet if Alzheimer’s can leave you a gift (with a little help from God), it did.  When Aunt Livy went to see her shortly before she died, she told Nana Sarah and Olivia had arrived.  Nana’s response? “Yes, I saw them.  They have the most beautiful red hair.”  She had never seen them.  Memories of grandchildren she never met in life…. 

Brownie Mom027Mom’s group picture is stamped on the back: Girl Scouts, March 12, 1953—Released Official Naval Photograph—If Published Credit Line Must Read “Official U.S. Navy Photograph”.  (There’s your credit, Navy.)  Mom (middle row, fourth from the left) was eight years old. Sarah’s little face peeking out from 1953…  I guess I never really knew Mom was a Girl Scout, but it does make sense since she encouraged me to be one.  I started out in Brownies and worked on up through the Cadet ranks in high school.  What was Mom’s life like in 1953? She was born in Key West, where this photo was taken on the tarmac at the base where my Granddaddy was stationed and spent a good part of his military career until he and Nana were transferred to Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1969. Mom grew up on that Key West base and met my dad while she was in nursing school in Miami.  I can only imagine what life was like on a tiny little island, the southernmost place in the country, on a Navy base.  I’ve learned bits and pieces of my mom’s childhood, primarily from Aunt Livy and her son/my cousin Ray, who grew up with Mom in Key West.  Mom died way too young so I didn’t get to hear all those stories from her.

I learn my family’s memories through pictures like these….a guesstimation of memories I suppose since I’ve learned so little of the real thing. One of the side effects to being a child of so many divorces?  Perhaps.  You don’t talk too much about family history when your own history as you are living it is so hard to understand. The upside to this is that I can make those memories whatever I dream them to be.  I can make my Nana a wonderful story teller and adventurous soul, as I’ve always guessed her to be by the humor she shared while I was growing up…even in the stories she created while living with Alzheimer’s.  And I can imagine my Mom as a free-spirited little girl running around with her arms flying like the airplanes she must have seen landing and taking off daily on that base, surrounded by friends and laughing.  Always laughing.  And I can learn from them, and use them to create memories for my own children.  And my girls will remember adventure.  And they will remember laughter.  And they will read my stories of them to their red-headed children, creating for them memories of their moms.

This week’s prompt: “Graduate”
Use the prompt however you like – literally, or a tangential theme. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to by midnight eastern time on Sunday, May 24, 2009.  Note the submission date change!  You have a few extra days this week and we’ll start posting the contest on Mondays with a little hint from Miranda.  (Great idea, Miranda!)  Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly challenge, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) All submissions are acknowledged when received; if you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt within 48 hours, please post a comment here. Remember, the point is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.

Kelly: The Magic of Childhood, Part II

livvie-bw1We hit a major milestone this weekend. We officially have big-girl bikers! We haven’t hit the pavement yet, but they are running laps around the backyard with ease. I guess that’s one benefit to having hard-packed river sand and scrub covering the majority of your backyard. I’m very disappointed to admit I missed “the moment.” Since I’ve been doing the Riverside Arts Market every Saturday, DH has had more time with the girls and has been practicing with them, and while I was sitting in my booth about 2pm Saturday afternoon, they were riding laps around the backyard unassisted for the first time. DH called to tell me. When I got home, they demonstrated for me so I could take pictures. Olivia, being the camera ham she is, was content to ride at least a dozen laps so I could get more and more pictures. Sarah chose to only do two laps and determined that with her glowing natural beauty, that should be sufficient to capture a stunning photo. She then put her skirt back on and pulled her ladybug chair over next to mine to watch Livvie ride.

I couldn’t resist aging these pictures. Watching the girls brought back memories of me learning to ride my bike and the series of black and white pictures my dad took of me. We lived in a big apartment complex in Miami at the time.  My mom worked full time as a nurse while my dad worked odd jobs and went to school.  We didn’t have much money, but I do have many good memories of that time. That’s when my dad and I grew up together. It’s funny how pictures do that for you.  A memory can be lost to time, only to resurface in perfect focus when an old picture crops up to remind you. My bike was bright blue with a white seat and red, white and blue streamers coming off the handlebars. After I outgrew that bike, I got the classic “banana seat” bike, appropriately yellow. Until my parents divorced, I spent nearly a month every summer in Orange Park with my Nana and Granddaddy, and that yellow banana seat bike took me everywhere.

sarah-bwMost of the kids in Nana’s neighborhood were boys, so the tomboy in me grew to full fruition in those days. There was a big hill near Nana’s house and we’d fly down that hill with all we had, always with one of the gang at the bottom of the hill watching for cars. If no cars were coming, that’s when we knew we could safely keep on flying, past Maria’s house, right over Capella Lane and on down to the dead end at the bottom of the hill. There was more than one occasion early on when I got the warning that a car was coming and hit my brakes in a panic, tumbling head over butt in an endo (though apparently not much has changed since I’ve been known to do that on my mountain bike these days as well). That bike took me to the creek back behind Nana’s house and down to the end of the neighborhood to the swimming hole back in the woods…forbidden territory that Nana knew nothing about (or so I thought). I’ll drive back through that neighborhood every now and then when I’m in Orange Park, and the memories of those days are so clear I can still feel the cold water of the swimming hole. I see us all…me, Ricky, Gary, Eddie, Ted, and every once in a while Maria and Sheila…climbing up that oak tree and jumping off its branches into the center of the hole, never worried about what might lie beneath, what might lie beyond, or what might face us the next day. That was childhood at its best. No worries, just fun. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

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