Posts tagged ‘home’

Ninety Years of Memories

by Rebecca Taylor

**Previously published by Bread n’ Molasses**

“We were so young back then weren’t we, Henry, we thought we could conquer the world and now look at us. You’ve passed on and here I am going through all this clutter as the kids say, I call it memories. They want me to move into a retirement home, they even took me visiting there; the people and rooms are nice. I know this house is too big for me; after all, we did raise five kids in it. There’s just so much stuff here and I can’t take much of it with me, said Miranda Jane Cummings standing in the entrance to the spare room of her large grey house on the corner of Elmhurst and Bath streets. The room along with the rest of the house was filled to the brim with boxes, bags, and parcels in every nook and cranny imaginable. She stood looking at it all. She picked up a photo album and started flipping through it.

            “Well here I am; I’m going to go through this stuff. These pictures tell so much about our lives. Why here is a picture of Mary when she was born, I didn’t hardly know how to hold a baby back then being the youngest in my family and everything. And here’s a picture taken the day Jeremy started college. He was so afraid of leaving home and look at him now living four hours from home with a good steady job. Here’s one taken the day Aaron got his driver’s permit, you taught him to drive because he made me nervous on the road. Of course, roads weren’t as busy sixty-five years ago and well when I learned to drive, I just got into my uncle’s car; he’d left the keys in and away I went. Was my mothers ever mad, she said, get in the house and behave yourself. I was ten years old! That was one of the first ones around in our neck of the woods.” She put the photo album aside and continued going through the boxes.

            “Here’s a valentine Veronica made us when she was in first grade. The writing is so hard to read but it is one of those things that a mother loves. There’s a bundle of letters, you wrote me, Henry, when you went to war. We were so worried about you; I was a young mother, with two kids and another on the way when you left. You came back safely, so many others weren’t so lucky. You got to see those three kids grow up and we were able to have two more when you came back. Just look at us now, we have twelve grandchildren, fifteen great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. Oh, look at this, the horn from Michelle’s first tricycle, my baby girl, how she hates being called that, to me that’s what she’ll always be even though she is fifty-eight now, that makes me feel old, knowing that I have children who are seniors and retired, I guess I’m just lucky to be able to be here for it all.

            “Grammy,” called a voice from downstairs, “Grammy, where are you?”

            “Up here, in the spare room, come on up, Lacey,” called Miranda.

            “Grammy, what are you doing?” asked the young woman, tossing her fawn coloured hair over her shoulder and kneeling down beside the tiny grey haired woman.

            “I’m just going through a few of these boxes; it should have been done years ago when your Grampy was here but it just never seemed to get down and now your mom and aunts and uncles  are telling me that I should be thinking about going into a nursing home. I know they’re just worried about me because they’re so far away. You’re all so good to me, not a week goes by when I don’t have visitors.”

            “We love you, Grammy, and want what’s best for you. At Oakvale Manor, you will be surrounded by good, caring people plus you can make lots of friends and we’ll still come visit you. There’s so much going on there. Guess what happened to me last night?”

            “Oh, honey, I’d probably never guess in a million years, and I just don’t have that kind of time anymore,” answered Miranda laughing.

            “I got accepted to the teaching staff at Melville High, which means I’ll be moving back here and will be able to visit you even more often.”

            “That’s a great opportunity for you, so young and already you’ve got your life on the right path, seems like only yesterday that I was teaching your grandmother to read and now here you are all grown up, I should feel a lot older than I do but you all keep me young.”

            “Oh, Grammy, a woman like you will have eternal youth, we’ll see to that. Now, what have you got in all these boxes?”

            “Everything, little reminders from my whole life. I won’t be able to take it all with me when I go to a retirement home.”

            “You can’t take all the little things, like this old guitar-“

            “That was your Aunt Mary’s, she used to play that thing for hours at a time, I guess she outgrew it. Maybe I’ll give it to her for her birthday.”

            “Your memories, of this guitar and everything that went with it and all this other stuff, it’s all in your head and they can go with you anywhere and that’s the important thing. Home sweet home, the mat on your front porch says, it can be a place but it can be a frame of mind too. I’ve moved around so much these last few years going to school that sometimes I don’t feel like I have a real place to call home but as long as I have my family and my memories I’m okay. Home sweet home to me has been a fresh baked apple pie, like mom makes and the smell of cinnamon incense like Nanny has and sitting down at a table to have tea and a chat because that always reminds me of you.”

            “For being twenty-three you’ve learned some things in this world that has taken me a lifetime.”

            “That’s because I’ve had people like you to teach it to me.”

            “And I have ninety years of memories to take with me when I’m ready to leave this home. Thank you, I was feeling down about moving and you’ve lifted up my spirits, will you take me for a visit at Oakvale Manor, I’d like to see it again, with a different frame of mind this time. My home sweet home, mindset.”

            “You’ve got it, and wherever we go and in whatever we may do may we always feel like we are home sweet home.”


by: Rebecca Taylor

Open mind

Very exciting and frightening

Everything brand new

Reasons to explore new places

Weather so different

Happy to try new things

Extreme moments of missing home

Learning experience

Many curious moments

Incredible chance to meet new people

Not everyone can be so lucky

Great opportunity to explore others ways of doing things.

Journey of an Umbrella

by: Rebecca Taylor

I am blue and covered with yellow stars. I have a handle that is shaped like a ‘J’ and it is padded with soft luxurious waterproof foam. I am an umbrella, and until last week, I belonged to Jade Pendleton. Jade had just finished work as a nurse at Pinedale Hospital; she had stepped out onto the sidewalk and pressed my button so I covered her from the pelting rain falling from the sky. We began our ten-minute walk from the hospital to the apartment where we live. When we were half way there, near the intersection of Klassen and Grand Streets, Jade saw a kitten crying in an abandoned parking lot and reached down to pick up the sopping ball of orange fur. When she bent over to scoop it up, she lessened her grip on me, and when a gust of wind brushed over us, I flew out of her hand and up into the air. She couldn’t come after me because she was holding onto the kitten. She must have headed for home, fighting her way through the brisk winds and cascading rain, holding securely to her new friend. I flew through the air, landing a few moments later in a river. I floated downstream with my heart caught in my handle as I attempted to steer myself out of the way of rocks and keep myself from being pulled under by the forceful current. Even though I am waterproof, I should not be immersed in large pools of water and drowned. I am meant to protect humans against basic rainy conditions, but dislike swimming.

            I fought for my life in the water for at least an hour before I washed up on shore. This is where I lay muddy and shivering listening to the claps of thunder, flashes of lightening and changing speeds of the raindrops falling to Earth.

            “We’ve got some storm here,” said Thunder. “Ready Lightening? I love the brightness you project, and you make a great light in the dark.”

            “Here we go,” answered Lightening sending a streak of light downwards. I curled up in a ball hoping that it would not hit me.

            “I’m falling,” shouted the multitude of raindrops. “I love the rush I get from it.”

            “This is the life,” answered Thunder sending another powerful bang towards me.

I just lay there, dirty, soppy and frightened thinking about Jade and how good it would be to be home with such a kind caring person instead of alone and lost. Whenever I was with Jade I felt like a good umbrella, because Jade helped me have a better life. She let other people on the street take cover beneath me when they were headed in her direction, and she was always happy regardless of how her day had been. I heard her talking with her colleagues sometimes about her the struggles of caring for patients in a hospital but her mood never seemed to waver, she was a calm person, and it made me feel at peace. Thinking about Jade helped me forget what was happening around me for a few minutes, and after a while the sounds of some of Mother Nature’s elements withdrew their presence and I lay quietly wondering what was going to happen to me. I could smell the change in the air, like a musty room that had been refreshed.

            During the next three days I stayed washed up on the shore watching the sky change with the rising and setting of the sun and the clouds becoming all sorts of different things, from fish to mountains and almost anything imaginable. On the forth day of being stranded, a woman and a dog were playing Frisbee when the dog brought me back to his owner instead of his red plastic saucer. The dog held onto me with his teeth but he didn’t hurt me just held me firmly, proudly handing his catch to his owner.

            “Good boy, Hugo, an umbrella. Wonder where it came from. It looks like it was a pretty one once, let’s get it home, and cleaned up so we can see what it’s supposed to look like.”

            The woman whose name was Emma Murray, took me home, and put me in the bathtub to soak in hot soapy water. It felt good against my cold muddy bones. She changed the water a few times until I had been restored to my usual lustre. She dried me with a towel and then she opened me in the house. I’d never been opened inside before, too many superstitions about bad luck had fluttered around with that theory, but Emma didn’t seem to care, she only wanted what was best for me. She laid me on the floor in the spare room and let the breeze from the fan circulate around me so I would finish drying. When this process was complete, she folded me back up, tied me with the snap, and lay me on the dresser by the front door to be used as needed. I knew that this would now be my new home. I was floored by the kindness she had shown me, a stray object that had been washed ashore. She didn’t have to clean me up or give me a home but she did. I couldn’t help but think how ironic it was that I had been lost when Jade performed an act of kindness for the kitten that had needed her, and I needing a new home had been found and given a chance by Emma Murray and her dog Hugo. I cannot help believe that there are angels on Earth looking out for even the smallest of beings. 

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