Beginning to piece together my own memoir, I find advice everywhere that says get started with a blog. I prefer blogs with useful, how to stuff. So most of the time, if you’re a subscriber, that’s what you’ll get. Useful stuff about memoir writing. But today, here’s my experiment. Comments appreciated!
Thirteen years old in 1968. Everything was in question. What were hippies? was on my mind a lot. I loved the chain you see around my neck. It held a Maltese Cross, very hip, a gift from my aunt. It was a happy year – Dad was successful after a rough start in real estate development; my mother tried out the latest in hair styles and white go-go boots after her hours teaching Special Ed in our small town’s school. She was one of the first teachers in that field when it pioneered in public schools, and later in ESL. My brothers played football after school; I was a bookworm, often in the treehouse back of our home. The all-American family.
Two years later my parents divorced. The happy fairy tale my parents were taught, and that they had taught us, about family life just dissolved. But, trimming the tree of 2013 with my husband, I’m reminded how carefully my father would wrap presents.
“Fold it this way, then smooth it. You don’t want any wrinkles,” he said, eyeing his work on one end of the package carefully before handing it to me to try the other end. I was never as patient with it as he, and my packages, unlike his, continue to be wrapped wrinkly. The same night, he would put up the tree, then circle it, trailing a tangle of lights, reaching for my mother’s hands to pass them round, laughing and perhaps swearing a bit as he tripped over the three of us kids, eager to help. It was one time each year we could count on being all together, and present, in the evening; without television, the “cool fire” centerpiece.
At thirteen, I was beginning not to want to be around my parents very much, preferring solitude or friends. But Christmas? That was family time and everyone understood that. I was lucky to have them and like many children, blissfully unaware of it! Wishing you happy holidays as you wrap and unwrap the present of memory. Deborah