Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Make a Memory

A few days ago I posted a poem titled Make a Memory and promised I would tell the story behind it. My sister-in-law, Tiz, asked me not to be too long about getting it up, especially after I told her that she and my brother, Mike are part of the story and Mike was a prime player in “the memory.”

Mike and Tiz live in Australia and last September, they visited us in Wisconsin for the very first time. I hadn’t seen my brother in far too many years and had never even met Tiz so this was a big occasion. A wonderful time was had by all but one incident stands out to me above all the others. It was a simple thing really but rich and very complex in meaning to me on several different levels.

We had gathered on the porch in the late afternoon just talking about this and that, enjoying each other’s company and my Gr-son Gabe was sort of lurking around the edges of the adults, listening to our conversation (I think we were discussing politics or something) and he had come up and leaned against me. I could see that he was trying to get closer but there was nowhere for him to sit so I invited him to sit on my lap.

Now Gabe had formed somewhat of a huge boy crush on my brother Mike and I had noticed he was trying to impress him so I wasn’t surprised when he informed me rather scornfully “I don’t sit on peoples’ laps anymore, Gramma.” To which I replied that I guessed he WAS getting a little too grown up for that but I sure wished I had known the last time he sat on my lap that it was going to be the last time. He asked me why and I said because I would have made a memory about it since I loved it so much when he sat on my lap when he was little.

At that point Mike chimed in with a comment about how important living in the present and being mindful of what is precious to you when you are with your loved ones is because you never know when the last time is going to be. We had a short discussion about that. That was probably the best–most meaningful–conversation Mike and I had that whole weekend. There was a whole lot that was left unspoken but was said nonetheless, in my opinion.

The conversation moved on and awhile later Gabe came up and nonchalantly sat on my lap. I didn’t say anything, just gave him a little hug but I knew what he was doing. After a few moments, he leaned in close and whispered in my ear “This is the last time, Gramma. Make a memory.” 

When they got home, Tiz sent me some pictures of their visit. One of them is the picture of Gabe and Daryn playing with some kangaroo boxer toys and there is Gabe, sitting on my lap. Occasionally I would look at that picture and think about sweet Gabe saying “This is the last time; make a memory” and think about writing a poem. Eventually that poem pretty much just wrote itself early one morning. I changed very little after the first draft. Mostly just line breaks and punctuation and one word.

So, Thanks Mike and Tiz.  You both helped make a special memory.

Barbara Gavin-Lewellyn


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I do have to earn a living, so I’m conscious of probable reactions from readers, but the most important one is still the awareness that if I’m not enjoying a story, the reader won’t either.
Thomas Perry

It’s really interesting, always educational, and sometimes amusing to check your blog statistics and note what gets the most hits on a blog. Up until recently, the two posts that got the most traffic on this blog were The Goblins will get Ya’! and Up, Up and Away! Maple Sugar Farm.

Both of them generate some traffic every day, often times the only traffic if I haven’t been posting. The James Whitcomb Riley poem, Little Orphan Annie quoted  in The Goblins will Get Ya! really resonates with people in a certain age group—MY age group. Around Halloween the hits really surge. People have a lot of fond memories of being read that poem as youngsters and have left comments about their 91 year old Moms or Grammas. In one case, a reader even posted a link of his mother reciting the poem. I’m really touched that people have shared their memories and gratified to know that that post has brought such pleasure to so many.

As for the Up Up and Away! post, it gets so many hits because of this picture of this cute little kitten I posted. There are a lot of people who enjoy looking at pictures of cute kittens. I suspect that some of them are little girls and maybe even some little boys. I wonder if they read the story I wrote for my Grandson, Gabe, so long ago and if they do, do they enjoy it? I wish I could watch them reading it.

Recently in the post titled To Be or Knot to Be I told a joke about a string tying itself into a knot and included a line drawing of a knot in the post. It is astonishing how many people have looked at that silly picture! Today there were 79 people who visited this blog. 60 of them were looking at the knot. LOL! Who knew? I hope they also read the joke.

Lesson learned? If you want traffic to your blog, put pictures of common things people are interested in in your posts, people. Blog about famous poems and stories you remember being read to you in your youth or some other popular culture thing that you have fond memories of. Relate, relate, relate!




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To live in hearts we leave behind, Is not to die.
Thomas Campbell

I didn’t exactly make a New Year’s resolution to start writing in this blog again but I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  I really should; I have so much to say.  <hehehe> So here we are already three weeks into the New Year and a post is born.

My daughter was here last week and somehow we got onto the subject of how people who live here or their relatives dispose of their stuff when they leave to go into a assisted living, nursing home or the funeral parlor.  There are often this building’s version of a garage sale.  A notice is posted on the bulletin board that such and such an apartment is having a moving sale and the apartment is opened up for a couple of days for the browsers and bargain hunters.  Sometimes there is a notice that if you need something, come have a look see and it’s yours for the taking.

That’s how I got some bowls and plates my daughter was admiring (and that’s how this conversation got started).   That’s what I want to happen to my stuff when the time comes.  Not that I’m planning on going anywhere soon but when you get to my age and have the health problems I have, AND you live in a building where more than half the residents are Senior Citizens who are moving on to somewhere else with alarming frequency you think about these things.

So I told Kerryn that she and her brother should take what they want and give the rest of it away.  Of course that got us started on a walk down menory lane as we glanced around my apartment and she pointed out some things that had sentimental value to her.  That reminded me of the most important thing I have that belonged to my Grandmother.  My kids have heard the story about the nearly 100 year old bird of paradise milkweed pod I have carefully drug around with me since 1974 more than once but of course it doesn’t have as much significance for them as it does me because they didn’t really know my Gramma Della Hoyt Fate.  It makes me sad to think that after I go (aka die) that memento and the memories connected to it  will be lost.  She told me I should write the story down so it would survive me.  So here it is.

This is a picture of the milkweed pod my Gramma, Della Fate kept in her bedroom, hanging on her mirror.  It was picked on the property my Grandfather owned on the day he asked her to marry him so let’s do some math here.    Grandmother was 80 years old when she died in 1974 so that means she was born June 13, 1984.  She was 22 years old when she married my Grandfather and if I remember correctly,  they had a fairly long engagement–at least a year.  Probably two.  So this milkweed pod is at least 96 years old. It hangs on a picture of some Victorian Ladies in my bedroom.

That potholder is an example of some of the fancy crochet work my grandmother used to do.  I really regret not keeping one of the high heeled slippers she made in the ’60s and stiffened with some kind of starch so they would stand up. She made a lot of them and gave them away as gifts to the ladies in her Bible Study and Prayer group.  They were really cute but not exactly something this budding hippy was interested in.  She also made a lot of doilies and stuff.  For a long, long time time I had a purple and lavender flowered towel with crocheted lavender borders that she made for me as a young teen.  Those were my favorite colors at the time.  Eventually the towel wore out and the crocheting disintegrated.

But my favorite were her rag rugs.  In the summer she would sit out on what she called the North porch  (it was enclosed and essentially served as an additional room on the house for three seasons) and rip old dresses and remnants of fabric into long strips which she then sewed together on her old treadle machine (which I have) and rolled into huge balls.  (The north porch led to her front door and the South porch led to her back door but I always found that confusing because I think the North porch faced east and the South porch faced North.  <shrug>)  Then in the winter she used a giant crochet hook and turned them into rag rugs.  I used to help her with rolling those strips of fabric into balls.  My favorite memories of my Gramma take place on that porch.  I even had my own rocking chair there.

Here’s Barbra Streisand singing my favorite song about memories.  I love this song.  I’d like it played at my memorial service.

Memories, light the corners of my mind/ Misty watercolor memories/ of the way we were. Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind/ smiles we give to one another/ for the way we were. Can it be that it was all so simple then/ or has time rewritten every line?
The Way We Were Lyrics  Barbara Streisand

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