Memories Of A Time Long Ago
I know we haven’t talked or seen each other for a long time, but I just wanted to ‘reach out and touch you’ today. Well, at least reach out, anyway.
It’s hard to believe that this August 20th will be forty years. That sounds like a really long time, but at the same time it also seems just like yesterday.
Before I go too much further with this I want you to know something. Yes, there was a time after you left that I was angry with you; angry because I thought you’d taken yourself away from me. I felt bad for feeling that way, but I was still young and I thought I had to blame somebody. I even went so far as to blame God, too. But time has a way of healing, and as I got older I realized you and God weren’t to blame.
But there was still somebody I had to blame, and I still do to this day.
I know you had a drinking problem, which is why you and Dad separated and eventually got divorced (I can still remember being taken out of school and going to court where the judge took me into his chambers and asked me who I wanted to live with). But you also had some mental problems, and those damn doctors got you hooked on valium to ‘help’ you. They were the ones who took you away from me, even though they never admitted it!
And while I’m on the subject of the divorce, I also remember when you called me afterwards and asked me why I wanted to live with Dad. “Why don’t you love me anymore?” you asked. That really hurt, Mom. You know I loved you, but you were messed up and unstable, and I was only eight years old.
But at the same time I know how much you loved me, going so far as to even ‘kidnap’ me out of school (remember that lei you gave the teacher as a ‘bribe’ right there in the classroom?). I remember those 30 days in Wasilla, going to a new school, living on Bud Collins’s chicken ranch (Totem eggs), and getting chicken pox (ironically ). But at least you called Dad and let him know where I was. Times have changed now, and if you did that in this day and age you’d be hunted down and charged with a felony!
Dad went through a lot of baby/house sitters (‘Nannies’ I guess you could call them), including my older half sister Karen, while you were gone, and as much as they tried to be a mother figure to me, they could never replace you.
Here’s a neat memory: seeing myself dancing around in that little bathrobe on Christmas morning when I was like 3 years old with that stuffed monkey clapping his cymbals together in the background! You were standing there in the living room, a big smile on your face, clapping and urging me on! There wasn’t any sound on those old 16 millimeter films, but I can just imagine what you and Dad were saying.
I’m not sure if I still have those reels—if I do then Julie might have them (I know I gave her the projector)—but to see you, actually see you, if only on film, is something I can never forget.
It was a time when we were a real family, and I’ll always treasure that memory.
Mom, I know you’re reading this, and I know you watch over me; I’ve had more than my share of near-death experiences, and I’m sure you pulled a few strings with God to get me through them. So you also know that you have two granddaughters now, as well as three great-grandsons! And it does kind of hurt that none of them ever knew you. But they do go and see you and even talk to you once in awhile there in the Edgewood Cemetery. And of course they also go and see Dad there, too.
Hey, I just thought of something! Today is Memorial Day and the Indianapolis 500 is running. I remember watching that during the time we were in Wasilla, and there were a lot of accidents in that race—the most ever I think!
And remember when you moved to Palmer into that double wide trailer when you taught me how to knit! And crochet! Remember how I was always ‘dropping a stitch’ (or whatever it’s called) when I was trying to make a cape for my little stuffed rat that I got on our vacation to the Redwoods in California? Standing under that huge Paul Bunyan statue with his blue ox, Babe, beside him?
How about that time when we visited Gramma Mae’s and I stepped on that bee in the yard and screamed my head off because I didn’t know what happened? You came running, picked me up, rushed me into Gramma’s, and pulled the stinger out!
And I had a slice of cake and a bowl of chocolate ice cream after!
Wow! Weird how some memories can be so vivid, huh?
I guess what it all comes down to, Mom, is that we didn’t have a lot of time together, and a lot of those times weren’t cake and ice cream memories, either. But I want you to know that of the ones that were cake and ice cream, they will never be forgotten.
I love you, Mom.
Say ‘hi’ to Dad, and Gramma Mae and Grampa Ted/Fred, too!
January 21st, 1929 – August 20th, 1976