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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Autumn's Leaving

Oasis Feature: Goodbye's Returning

I'm back from Michigan, and am still processing the astonishingly vivid autumn week. I decided to take an intentional walk down Memory Lane, and found a richly intense source of personal history. I highly recommend the experience of living in your own memoir by re-visiting the people and places that impressed themselves into your memory at an earlier time in your life.

On Memory Lane, I visited Apple Charles' orchard, and discovered a former high school friend is Apple Charlie. I walked through a pumpkin patch, and remembered the great pumpkin, and our farm fund raising activity where all proceeds went towards the purchase of a new motorcycle for the Pittmann girls.  I strolled the Parkview cemetery grounds while Brian Alexander filmed for the B roll that will be shown during the credits for the documentary. (This film is being made about my mother and her partner and the events surrounding their murder.) I met up with Lillian L., one of  Mom's motorcycle buddies, who still rides at 80 years old, and had a delightful lunch filled with her entertaining chatter. I went to the scene of the crime, rather, our farm house, and met the new owners who generously showed me all the changes they had made to the interior of the house.  I returned to our first house on West Point street in Taylor where I lived with my family until I was three years old. Located behind the house, I discovered Mom's Siesta Motel has been converted to a business office building where people siesta no longer. I walked around the corner to Mack's Shack, which is now Kelly's Bar, and remembered the first time I passed for eighteen, and reflected how once when I was sixteen years old I sat at the bar and had a beer with my father. I felt so grown up.

Courageously returning to these specific locations of my personal history reminded me to embrace the past, which includes as they say both the bitter and sweet. Join me as I share memory moments in the next couple of posts in the Oasis Feature; Goodbye's Returning.

The Thing Is

by Ellen Bass
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
"The Thing Is" by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love. © BOA Editions, Ltd., 2002.