Day Five – June 22, 2018 – I Am a Memory

We all have memories of others. Some memories are tender and treasured. Others are painful and linger longer than we wish. Have you ever thought about being a memory to someone else? Who holds a memory of you?

Perhaps you have written about the many adventurous experiences you had as a young child with a grandparent, sibling, or friend. Have you ever considered how this person might recall you in those same memories?

What is the memory? Focus on a specific memory, a fixed point in time. Play it out on the page. What were you like to them?

42 thoughts on “Day Five – June 22, 2018 – I Am a Memory

  1. Kurt Newman

    “Coincidences are spiritual puns.”
    ~G. K. Chesterton


    SORORITY SISTERS

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be anyone’s memory; however, I think I orchestrated a memory of my mother that will live on in a young lady’s recollection for decades into the future.

    About ten years before my mother’s death, I witnessed one of life’s strange coincidences that causes the observer to wonder about the nature of life when it seems to loop back onto itself, if not to repeat, to rhyme. My mother, then well into her eighties, was living with us in Africa and my wife, Eloise, and I had arranged to take her on a sunset cruise on the upper Zambezi River—in the jungle above Victoria Falls. The “cruise boat” was actually a small two-deck chugger, not much more elaborate than the steamer Bogart hauled through the swamp in The African Queen. There was only one other group sharing the boat with us—by a wild coincidence, another American family.

    The mom of the other family sat down opposite Eloise and me, next to my mother. The dad, teen daughter, and young son climbed the ladder to the upper deck. As we settled in, Eloise introduced herself to the mom. The lady responded in a familiar down-home accent. I should mention here that, although my natural southern accent has become unrecognizable from decades of living abroad, my mother and I were originally from the Heart of Dixie.

    Eloise, who has a great ear for accents and speech patterns, immediately picked up on the lady’s distinctive drawl and gave me the look that meant, Can you believe it? What a small world.

    Eloise said to her, “Where’re you all from?”

    “Oh, I’m American,” she said, apparently expecting us to be of some other nationality—at that point we probably sounded Rhodie or Zimbo to an untrained ear.

    “I knew than. I mean where are you from?”

    She looked at us apprehensively. “We’re from the southern part of America.”

    I spoke up, “I’m sorry ma’am. we can tell that. That’s why we’re interested in where.”

    “Alabama.”

    “Yes. Believe it or not, we figured that from the start, but where?”

    “We live in a small town you wouldn’t have heard of.”

    “Please try us.”

    Eloise added, “I’d guess somewhere between Stone Mountain and Mountain Brook.”

    The lady perked up, “Wow, I was raised in Heflin, which is just about halfway between those two, but now we live in Tuscaloosa.”

    My mom had been enjoying the animals along the riverbanks and her champagne. Although the lady was sitting right next to her, my mom had been oblivious to the conversation to this point.

    I said, “My father was from Tuscaloosa.”

    Eloise chimed in, gesturing toward Thelma, “This is my mother-in-law, Thelma, who attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for four years.”

    I added, “And then lived there after my father returned from the war.”

    We got my mother’s attention and introduced them. Now it was our turn to enjoy the champagne, the animals and the sunset. I was vaguely aware of my mother and the lady exchanging information, including that the lady’s mother-in-law, who must have been born about the same time as Thelma, had attended the university too.

    I heard some talk about sororities, followed by my mother asking the name of the lady’s mother-in-law.

    “Sarah Helen Moore.”

    My mother exclaimed, “Oh my God. In addition to being sorority sisters, Sarah Helen and I were best friends and roommates. How is she?”

    “She died … years ago.”

    “Oh, I’m so sorry.”

    Then the lady called up the hatch to the upper deck, “Sarah Helen! Get down here. Now!” The teen girl scrambled down the ladder. Her mom introduced her to Thelma—the teen’s grandmother’s best friend from over six decades earlier. The daughter was the namesake of her grandmother, whom she had never met because the original Sarah Helen had passed long before this teen’s birth.

    The young lady spent the remainder of the cruise listening in rapt attention to tales of her namesake grandma as a young student.

    Thus, in this small world, my mother met her college best friend’s namesake granddaughter, sixty years after they last saw each other. As if that weren’t strange enough, this happened on the upper Zambezi River, in a land they had never heard of as sorority sisters—a hemisphere away from Tuscaloosa north and south, and a hemisphere away east and west. Back in the depth of the Great Depression, the far edge of their world had lain somewhere just beyond Atlanta. As sorority sisters contemplating the future in the darkness of their room, they never could have dreamt that such an occurrence would be the final link in the chain of their friendship, and the beginning of a young lady’s memories of tales of her grandma as a young student.

  2. Suzie Shaeffer

    I Am a Memory

    Truth first. This prompt turned out to be a trigger for me. I read the prompt around 3:00 AM and started crying. Wasn’t sure if I’d be able to write anything today.

    Here’s why. Almost six months ago my 92-year-old mother died. It wasn’t an easy, gentle death. Toward the end she had lost most of her physical and mental faculties. Everything that she was most afraid of happening, happened. The mental decline started over a year ago, along with severe depression. The decline at first was gradual, then accelerated, with more of each night and then each day eaten away by paranoia, confusion, fear, anger, even hallucinations. She could put on a good show when being checked for mental acuity, at least until the final few weeks. When it was bad, she thought I was her jailer, that I was the worst child ever born, that I was scheming to get her locked away as a mental patient, that I was ungrateful, that I was only taking care of her out of a sense of obligation instead of love, and that I and my husband just wanted her money.

    All I wanted was to have my mother back.

    That’s what I’m trying to do, get her back through memories, through stories. That’s what I’ve been working on for five months now.

    What I can’t do yet is tell her memories of me, in the words she might have used a couple of years ago, because those most recent words are still clear, so painful, and I can still see the look of pure hatred in her eyes. I know that was not my mother, but it takes time to heal. Time and good memories. Memories that she chronicled for me over a decade ago.

    My parents were living in South Carolina when my father suffered a stroke and passed away after a year. Mother was his caregiver, with me (their only child) driving up from Florida as often as I could to help. I was with them when he died at home under hospice care. After a graveside service at the nearby National Cemetery, I came back to Florida to look for an apartment down here for my mother. By herself, she started a project that she hoped would help her heal from the year of caregiving and her loss of her life-long love and companion. The project was also intended as a gift for me.

    She gave it to me after she moved into her apartment ten minutes away from our house. It was a scrapbook, filled with momentos and photographs that started when my parents met and continued on through their wedding, my birth and growing up; all the moves we made and trips taken, ending with me going off to college.

    Here’s what she wrote on the card that was attached to the binder:

    “Dear Suzie –
    I hope this brings you as much pleasure as I had in the making of it.
    It filled many hours when I needed it most. Going through lots of momentos and pictures of sixty years. A lot of good times! I needed to be reminded of them and be thankful for a wonderful and interesting life and how much your father loved us both.
    I couldn’t include everything, but hope I did hit the most interesting bits and it will cause you to remember too!
    Love,
    Mother”

    It was and is a precious gift. It helped her in the making of it and it is helping me now. In her telling of my life with them, she has reinforced the love that was there throughout. No matter what came toward the end. And now I have started my memory project, to build on what she started and memorialize through story her life and my father’s.

    I was remembered with love. I will remember with love.

    1. Kurt Newman

      Suzie, Thank you for your memories. Your story struck a chord with me. My wife and I cared for both of our mothers through their final years—a total of 24 years between the two of them. It must have been heartbreaking to watch the mother you’d know slip away, but you will always have the warm glow of knowing you did your best for her. God bless.

    2. Sarah Fine

      I can’t really imagine how painful her death must have been for you to witness. I sat with my mother during her last days but she had slipped into a coma like state and conversation was beyond us. I write about her – her stories and mine – and do find that enlightening and comforting. Your mother has left you a loving and precious gift.

  3. Vera Zimmerman

    Day 5 – I am a Memory

    I couldn’t get my mind around today’s prompt. I read fiction, but I don’t want to write fiction. And that’s what it would be. I have no way of knowing how someone else might remember me. It would be pure fiction. I decided to write about my mother and her two sisters and how their approach to truth and fiction differed.

    For every family story there were three different versions. And if you went back and interviewed my mother and her older sister a second time there might be two more. My mother’s younger sister had the most reliable memory. For verifiable facts like Great Grandma’s maiden name and when a particular event happened, she was most likely to be accurate. My mother was in the middle, sometimes close but most of the time a little off. Their oldest sister was the least reliable. Her stories were interesting but nowhere near what turned out to be the real story. Any family history interviews were best recorded individually or else they devolved quickly into family arguments. :”No, that’s not the way it was! “Yes, it is!” “No, it ISN’T!”

    Evidently this tendency to twist, hmm, “misremember,” the truth was present even when she was younger. Mama said that one time her father said about her older sister, “She’s a damned liar!” and her mother said, “She’s not a liar. She actually believes what she’s saying is true.” She just had a good imagination. She would have made a good fiction writer.

    I’ll illustrate my mother’s little memory problems with this story. One time she and my father came down to Florida to visit. My son set up his video camera to photograph our dinner. I had fixed Fried Conch, a new dish for them. Mama said, “I’ll bet you got this recipe from Don.” He was a friend that we sailed with to the Bahamas and who loved conch. I said, “No, actually I got this recipe from a cookbook I bought in the Keys.” This is all recorded.

    Several years later we transferred a lot of our old VHS tapes to CD’s for my parents 60th anniversary and made a set for them and my brother. Fast forward a few years to when we were visiting my parents in Mississippi and Mama was talking about the first time she ate conch. She said, “ I remember it well. You told me you got the recipe from Don.” “No,” I said, “I got the recipe from a cookbook I bought in the Keys.” Mama said, “Oh, NO! I remember! You told me you got the recipe from Don!.” I got out the CD and fast forwarded to that dinner many years ago and replayed it to the part where I say, “No, actually I got this recipe from a cookbook I bought in the Keys.” As usual she had her own memory of what was said, but this time I had proof.

    1. Kurt Newman

      Suzie, Thank you for your memories. Your story struck a chord with me. My wife and I cared for both of our mothers through their final years—a total of 24 years between the two of them. It must have been heartbreaking to watch the mother you’d know slip away, but you will always have the warm glow of knowing you did your best for her. God bless.

      1. Kurt Newman

        Mea culpa, Vera. I don’t understand how my reply to Suzie got attached to your story; however, I’m sure it was my fault. Herewith, I’ll reply to your, which I also enjoyed immensely.

        Vera, Your account of your mother and aunts misremembering details rings true. I find it interesting that their accuracy diminished in inverse proportion with their ages. This is not necessarily due to age, but rather to the number of times the memories had been recalled. There is a theory that we do not recollect an original memory, but rather we recall the last memory we had of the details. That would be as if every time we dredge our memories for a specific memory and take it out from its long-term storage area of our brains, we replace it with a copy. Of course, every time you make a copy of a copy, you lose some detail. Thus the younger sister, who had accessed her memories fewer times, would have more detailed accounts. Thank goodness we can write down the memories so we will retain any details that would otherwise become blurred.

  4. Norma Beasley

    DAY 5-I Am A Memory
    Since dad died exactly one month before I was born and mom passed away when I was two years old, my paternal grandma raised me until I was seven years old.

    Frances McDonald, my next door neighbor and much older then me, remembered me as a ‘bad’ girl. I was a skinny tomboy that loved to run with the fellas. Playing softball, baseball, tag football, any sport as a matter of fact, and catching tadpoles, drew my attention. Sometimes I was the only girl on the field.

    Frances remembered me not swallowing my oatmeal that grandma was trying to feed me. Never liked the stuff. Grandma smacked me hard one day for continuing to swing my spaghetti in the air after she told me to stop. I retaliated by sticking her with my fork and drawing blood. One day I kept playing with my friends instead of going to the bathroom when I had the urge. Realizing I wouldn’t make it at the last minute, I ran around the house to the backyard, squatted, and let the pee fly. Frances caught me and told grandma. Mr. Lorenzo, a renter in grandma’s home, never knew I watched him bathe and towel off through the bathroom keyhole.

  5. Sarah Fine

    Thinking about being someone else’s memory, I realize how differently people must see you when you’re not the lead player in their narrative. I haven’t always been aware of the effect I’m creating. I guess you have to step outside your own story to be able to see and hear the people around you.

    When I was 18, my Dad and I visited cousins in Los Angeles for the first time. I really felt out of step – a Canadian in an exotic land with sun, beaches, surfer boys and movie stars. We had just driven Route 66 through the USA and I was feeling a lot like the poor kid from the farm suddenly thrust into big city lights. This was despite the fact I came from one of the biggest cities in Canada.

    I felt awkward and unsophisticated with my ordinary looks and my plain brown hair. But my cousin thought I was exotic; not because of my looks but because of my opinions and how straightforward I was in speech. He described me as fresh and down to earth, where I might see myself as dull and without anything interesting to say.

    I made a good impression without being aware of making any impression at all.

  6. Terry Deer

    How can we grasp another’s perception of us? We are forever trapped behind our own eyes, inside our own heads, filtering the words and actions of others through our own self-concepts. Perhaps the friend who accompanies us to a local museum enjoys the outing; perhaps she’s bored out of her skull and too polite to say so. But a cat will never lie to you.

    Charlie is a plump tuxedo cat who showed up in the back yard when he was a scrawny, sickly adolescent. He showed none of the skittishness of a feral cat. He belonged to us and knew it; he merely had to convince us. We fed him and took him to the vet, who discovered multiple problems, most of them easily solved. Back home, he fitted himself into the household with minimal fuss, even cuddling up to our elderly miniature dachshund.

    I know that I am the center of Charlie’s universe. I know because he tells me so every morning before dawn, when he climbs up my body (“Ow! Ow! Not the boobs!”) and sits on my head and chews on my hair. He tells me so every time I sit down with my knitting and he’s suddenly there in my lap. He tells me so whenever I decide to put a piece in the jigsaw puzzle that’s set up in the sitting room and find myself working around his plush self. Yeah. Good luck with that.

    Charlie adores me. I can hear the skeptics out there muttering, “Why wouldn’t he? You feed him, protect him, provide him with shelter and affection and entertainment. This is cupboard love.” Oh ye of little faith. I’ve lived with enough cats to know the difference between expedient tolerance and true love. Charlie is the real thing. Of course there have been rough patches in the relationship. Claw trimming is always an ordeal. But he doesn’t hold a grudge, bless him.

    We can’t know the effect we have on others. In most cases we guess, hope or trust. I have not a doubt, however, that Charlie is my most abject and worshipful slave.

    At least as long as I have a can of tuna in my hand.

    1. Sarah Fine

      Everyone needs a Charlie in their life. I had a similar experience the mornings when I went in to pick up a crying baby. The biggest smile I’d ever be greeted with and it was repeated every morning – love renewed and I felt the same way!

  7. Jeanne Sullivan

    June 22, 2018 Today’s prompt am I a memory
    I was reminded not too long ago about how the things we do or say can stay in the mind of other people, stay and grow until we pass them on in our words and deeds.
    When I was seven, I went to live with my aunt and fraternal grandparents. My mother had remarried and started a new family with my stepfather. Things had not gone well with me and so I was sent to live elsewhere.
    I didn’t know any of the kids in the neighborhood or school. I entered the second grade and met my new teacher Miss Lynch. Somehow she heard about me and sensed my uneasiness and fright of meeting all these new kids. She took me aside several t times and we talked about how I was doing and adjusting. I thought she was wonderful
    One day I went home and told my grandmother that Miss Lynch was beautiful and I wished she was my mother. Sometime later my grandmother went to school for PTA or something. Anyway she said Miss Lynch was the homeliest person she ever saw. She did not tell me that until many years later .Perhaps she was not physically beautiful but at seven years old, I only noticed the inner beauty of the person. Too bad that changes as we grow up.
    Miss Lynch made such an impression on me that even when I went to live with someone else a year later, I thought about her a lot. When I was old enough I went looking for Miss Lynch. I found her teaching in another school. She remembered me right away or said she did. We had a long chat about how I was doing. I always felt better after our visits. I went to see her at least once a year until my senior year.
    I hope she sensed how grateful I was for her friendship. I never told her. Even today I think of her sometimes and wonder how her life was.
    We don’t know how far reaching our words and deed can travel. With social media as it is today what we put out into space can impact someone as far as the other end of the earth.
    I have a sister that shares much of my writing and I have received responses from people I never heard of before. Many of the responses were in regard to things about God or Jesus. If any of my words have meant anything to someone, inspired, comforted or made them laugh, I thank God for my inspiration.
    Something as innocent as my picking up a snake and finding out it was a pigmy rattler brought several responses from new friends. One of them telling me I should not have picked up a strange snake and how to do it if I felt foolish enough to do it again.
    Now that I am writing about people and events that shaped who I am, I hope that someday someone will remember me by some good deed or word I have passed on.
    Miss Lynch, wherever you are, I thank you for taking an interest in a lonely and scared little girl so many years ago.

      1. Kurt Newman

        Jeanne, Your memories of Miss Lynch moved me to tears. That’s the best accolade one should hope to receive—to know you’ve touched another’s life with your words.

    1. Cheryl Floyd

      Jeanne, I saw you there in your first grade classroom with Miss Hinch, oops that was my first grade teacher, couldn’t believe how close their names were. She made a great impression on me too. I can see through your writing that she saw you as a child who needed extra attention and love. I hope you continue with this piece and write more from how she saw you. I’d love to hear more.

  8. Regina Russell

    My mother died six years ago. She would tell you that sometimes i was loving, caring, compassionate and nice, but other times I was mean, selfish, delusional and stupid. The elderly lady I live with now, probably thinks the same thing. I rationalize it by saying I am not a Stepford wife and I have the entire range of human emotions and I cannot be happy all the time, and that it’s okay to set boundaries. I’m an introvert and when I come home, I’m “off.” I’m not performing anymore. I have no clue really. i have no clue what someone else’s memory of me is. I do nice things once in a while. I know i am not my job. I made mistakes. I was human.

    1. Judy Watkins

      We all do the best we can in life. Some had better training along the way. None of us want to hurt others and we can do nothing to change their memories. I think we just have to learn to love ourselves.

      1. Jeanne Sullivan

        None of us are perfect. However, our Father in Heaven forgives our mistakes as we need to forgive the mistakes of others We are all products of our parents, teachers, mentors etc. It is our job to pass the forgiveness to others. We will feel better. So will they.

  9. Judy Watkins

    My Daughter Remembers…

    In my old age, I write. I ask my sister about events when I get stuck but she is no help at all because her memories are never the same as mine and who is to say who is right? We know we were in the same room at the same time but the events and outcomes have no similarity. The situation is much the same when my children tell me of events in their childhood.

    When I had children I was very young. I was barely 17 when my daughter was born and 20 when my son joined the family. Even though I was young, I had very vivid ideas of how a child should be raised and that meant opposite of how I was raised. My mother always worked and was never home. My mother never cooked a real meal. My mother never baked or had a clean and tidy house. My family would be different. I would stay home, cook, bake, clean and be just like the TV mothers and the mothers my friends had when I was growing up.

    I didn’t have a book to tell me how to be the mother that I wanted to be but I did my best. I have always believed that no mother sets out to hurt her children but some people have a better set of tools to work with than others.

    When my daughter started school and was old enough for Brownies I signed her up. This was an experience that I never had as a child and she would have the opportunity to join things, have friends and belong. After school one day when she was ready to get on the school bus the teacher led her over to a classroom where other girls were. She started to cry. She knew that she would be in big trouble if she did not get on the school bus and go home. In all my excitement for her to have a happy experience, I forgot to tell her about it. She had no idea why she was there or what was going to happen. It has been so many years ago but I get teary when I think of the scared little girl and I feel terrible for not being the mother that she needed.

    She tells me of another event in her memory. Again when she was in grade school, she was in a play or event put on by the students for parents. We were all there. I participated in everything possible when my children went to school. When the event was over we all were smiling and happy as we went home but nobody ever remembered to tell Lori that she did good or looked nice, or anything. Nobody showed their appreciation to the shy little girl that was trying so hard to please. I think I spent my years of motherhood trying to be the image of the perfect mother without knowing what it took to really be that person.

    1. Terry Deer

      These must have been painful memories for you to deal with; thank you for sharing them with us. It seems that the times we weren’t “enough” for other people are the ones that stick in our minds. I trust that Lori has enough perspective now to understand that parents, too, are only human!

    2. Sarah Fine

      It’s so hard to be the perfect parent but the overall feeling of you loving them, with the occasional misstep is really what matters. It’s especially difficult when they can’t tell you what they feel or think at the time it’s all happening…

  10. Cheryl Floyd

    I am a memory
    Instant tears popped into my eyes with this prompt. It’s funny how I never really think of what other people may remember about me and the role I played in their lives. Then the challenge was who to focus on; my family is extensive. In my immediate family there was Mama, Daddy and my five brothers; but cousins, aunts and uncles played a large part in my upbringing. We all lived close together off highway 101 in the middle of rice country in southwest Louisiana.

    Ah, yes, my Aunt Thelma, daddy’s younger sister, my mama’s best friend. I loved how she told the story, over and over again how I was attached to her hip. She lived in the house behind ours on farm land that belonged to the family. A drainage ditch separated the two houses situated in the middle of rice fields. Before my birth, my mother had four boys and Aunt Thelma had two; then the first girl arrived. Aunt Thelma accompanied my mama to the hospital and helped the nurse deliver me on the gurney as the doctor finished his card game and my daddy waited outside with a drink and a smoke. At a time before ultrasounds and early gender identification, my Aunt Thelma announced, “Oh, Florence, it’s a girl! We have a girl!” Yes, we have a girl. She claimed me as her own. Ours eyes and souls connected in that moment, she was the first to literally see me. Before I reached my third year of life, my Aunt Thelma smiled at me the most. I became a chubby baby because of being over fed, rocked, dressed, pampered and carried. She loved to tell the story of how she tried to jump the ditch between our houses because of the water and she went down with me; but protected her precious cargo by holding me up above the water. The tale told by her at every visit back home, revealed to me how much she enjoyed me as her baby girl. The excitement and joy behind the story always thrilled her.

    She saw me as smart, funny, strong and joyful. She did not like it when others hurt me and she defended me as her own. Her memory of me would be of her next generation twin, a mirror image of herself. With my dark brown eyes, hair, complexion and size I resembled her more than I did my petite, light-haired, green-eyed mother. When the two of them went shopping together everyone thought I was her baby girl, her little girl. She loved that. She thought of me as a little doll to dress up and show off. When others fussed at my behavior, she encouraged me to be strong to fight for what I wanted. She liked my feisty, playful nature and encouraged it.

    I know she smiled upon me with every new skill through my early development. Life changes rifted us apart. She became the first divorcee in our all Catholic family and moved away from the family compound. When I was three and a half, my younger brother usurped my baby role and my mother’s attention. My stern maternal grandmother took over my care. Miles and life circumstance separated us, but my Aunt Thelma always had the biggest welcoming smile on her face when she saw me. “Oh, Cheryl, come here, let me hold you.” “How you doing, cher, mon petit. Ven ici. Come here, sit wit me.” “You want some candy? Let me get you something to eat. You want some coffee milk?” Her love for me showed through her actions, the twinkle in her eyes, the tears that would come to the surface and the joy in her voice. She saw me as herself getting another chance at life.

    All these are once again my observations. This is a difficult challenge. She’s gone now. I am struggling to imagine what she thought. I always visited with her on my way into Louisiana before I saw the rest of the family if she was home, if not I tried to schedule my exit around a visit with her. She always welcomed me and made me feel at home. She loved talking, like I do. She probably gave me the gift of gab. When I graduated from college my first job offer was blocks from her home. I jumped at the chance because I knew we could visit more. She took personal pride and joy in all of my accomplishments.
    I am certain this one will be a piece that I add to and expand. Seeing me through the eyes of others is a challenge. Thanks Patricia. You did it again, cher. You motivate me to write in ways I never imagined.

  11. nancy nelson

    CHELSIE,

    20 years ago this month, a shy, sad Chelsie came to the first year of Girls’ Stories, Girls’ Voices, a week-long program for middle school girls. High School and College young women are the leaders, and as the director, I have the awesome opportunity to interact with wonderful young girls. The program is designed to help girls explore themselves and learn ways to deal with the multitude of issues they face during these challenging years.

    Chelsie lost her mother several months earlier and her father thought our program might be good for her. During the week she barely said a word, but she wrote a great deal in her journal that we provided. I had no idea whether we’d been helpful or not. Chelsie returned the following year and continued to do so for eight more years. When she arrived she would say she came because she needed a new journal. Gradually she began to open up and share stories about the changes and challenges of her young life: her father having a new woman in his life; her father removing all of the pictures of her mother (she hid one in her room); her brother going off to college; her father eventually leaving and placing her with an aunt and her family. Each story broke my heart. During her last year at the program she told me and the girls present, “Girls’ Stories, Girls’ Voices was the only place where I can be myself and share stories about my mother. I can survive and kick butt because of Girls’ Stories. Thank you, Nancy, for creating this program! ”

    I was overwhelmed to learn that one week a year for nine years had been so important in her young life! I am humbled to realize that creating a space for Chelsie to share her life, to listen deeply to her stories and show how much she was valued significantly impacted her. I’m pleased I had part in helping her face her losses. One never really comprehends the ways in which we affect others. I am aware that for 20 years our program has influenced girls in Wisconsin, Montana and Florida. I am grateful I followed through with recognizing a need and developing a program to fill the void.

    1. Judy Watkins

      Nancy,
      What a lovely story and one that I can identify with. I started a writing group for older women when I moved to the little town we live in. It was my way to get acquainted and make friends. It has been ten years and our group is still together. We have laughed and cried together. It is a safe place to share our most troubling issues. There is love there.
      Judy

  12. Beverly Bailey

    Already, our granddaughters say, “Nana, do you remember when you…?” At six and nine years of age, I marvel that they are storing memories and recalling them.

    “Nana, do you remember last year when you took us to JoAnn’s to get some fairy stuff? You were so funny. And you liked it when we didn’t ask for the big, big fairy house with the door. Bailey said it cost $9.00 and that was too much money for Nana to spend,” said Noelle.

    And the experience was true, although I never said a word about anything being too expensive. I would buy my girls whatever they wanted. But I’m sure Mommy and Daddy had told them that Nana wasn’t an endless supply of money.

    “But Nana, can we get the toadstool, the trees, and gnomes to add to what we have at your house? We’ll take them outside and play with them on the walk,” asked Bailey, the nine-year-old. “Nana, you have the best place outside to play. I remember when we came out in January, and it was cold. We put on our coats and took our fairies and gnomes and their garden outside and played. You sat on the porch and watched us.”

    To my granddaughters, I am a Nana who can bake scones, chocolate chip cookies, and apple pie, laugh when we make messes together such as the time they squirted shaving cream all over themselves in the guest bathroom. And once in a while, I am their confidant when they want to complain about their mom and dad. I never betray that trust. They also like for me to pray with them when they say their nightly prayers.

    I feel I’m giving them memories to recall when I’m gone. And they are adding to mine as well.

    1. Sarah Fine

      Your outside play place with the gnomes and the toadstools sounds magical. I lived far from my grandparents as a child, and was happy when my kids had time to play and imagine with their grandmothers.

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