Posts tagged ‘memories’

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.”


Dedicated to anyone who is missing a loved one who has passed on. 

by: Rebecca Taylor

Memories of you I hold on tight to

Every one that we ever had

Mundane as some may be

Orderly locked away in my mind

Ready to come out when I feel you in my heart

It isn’t goodbye

Every day apart doesn’t have to be an eternity

So long as I keep you within me.

Just The Two (Part Two)

Continuation of last weeks post (Just the two (part one))

“Hey, get off me!” the boy cried, trying to push her away. “I said, Get off me!”

She smiled, rubbing her cheek against his like a mother would. A few seconds in, and several curious stares later, she let him go, still smiling.

The boy frowned, but it held much less hostility than before. “What’s that for?”

She wanted to say it was because he looked like he needed one, but she knew his pride would force him to react negatively. Instead, she simply said, “Because.”

Read more…

Just The Two (Part One)

Part one of two

This is a short story I wrote, based on various childhood memories, and lots of creativity. Enjoy~

She came across the young boy at the park, scrapping at the dry dirt with a stick. If this had been years ago, when she herself was his age, she would understand why he was here, alone, and not spending his time with other children on the slides or swings across the way. Then, most of the fun areas had either been neglected or overrun with children much bigger than herself, playing basketball in the courtyard on the side. But years had passed, and the park was once again the perfect place to race around with friends, or hang from the long metal poles like monkeys. So why wasn’t he?

Read more…

The O Zone

Paradise on Paper is honored to have Ben Reinartz submit a guest post. Comments are welcome 🙂

The O Zone

He was tired; it felt like he had been running for hours. The pack he carried was cumbersome; its contents, vital. Winded, despite his near perfect conditioning, he dared not look back. The numbers chasing him could have grown for all he knew. He only focused on his destination. Fear gripped him, but made him more aware. Despite being a snowy, dark, winter night, he sensed all obstacles in front of him. He hurdled logs, ducked under branches that seemed to grab at him from the darkest depths. As he came to a clearing, he stopped to catch his breath. He set his pack on the ground, careful not to damage its contents. He panted heavily, tried to rest, and propped himself up against a tree.
He closed his eyes and remembered how different things had been just a few short months ago. He breathed in heavily, and released a long-drawn out sigh. With the short time he had, he had allowed himself to slip into memories. Memories of the brothers and sisters he had made, and the ones he had lost flooded his conscious.
“War is hell”, he thought. The faces of those he loved barged into his mind, especially those that he lost on his way.
As the sound of his assailants grew closer and closer, he forced the memories out of his mind, focusing on survival. After all, it was what he had done his whole life. He opened his eyes; the warm feeling of adrenaline rushing into his limbs was what allowed him to stand up. He quickly slung his pack over his left shoulder, then his right. He looked back to see the lights of his followers growing more abundant, and closer. Before thinking any more, he darted in the other direction.
As he was running, it seemed that the blizzard around him was picking up, making it much harder to dodge the branches and logs in his way. He continued to run, diving and rolling over logs and sidestepping trees that seemed to materialize right in front of him. He took his eyes off the area in front of him for just a second, to see how close his pursuers were, but that was a mistake. He turned his head in front, too late to see the branch. It felt as if his upper body had just ran into a brick wall. His lower body continued to move forward, and then up as the branch hit him square in the chest. As he fell, his head hit the ground first, hard.
He awoke to a bright light being shined in his face. Dazed and confused, he tried to stand, but found himself far to weak. The pain in his chest was throbbing, almost as if he had broken his sternum. He tried to breath, but every time he moved a muscle, he felt pain fill his chest cavity. He looked around to see that he was still in that damn forest. The light grew closer and he could make out a hooded figure behind it. It looked as if the hooded figure was wearing a coat as well.
“Finally got you. You were a slippery one weren’t you?” The man said in a deep, rather raspy voice. The man reached into his coat and pulled a pistol with the hand not carrying his flashlight. He pointed down.
The man lying on the ground closed his eyes, as if that would have any effect on the situation. Maybe he would see those he lost again, or maybe he would simple be cast into a more terrifying place than he could even imagine. Before he could think any more, the sound of a loud bang filled the forest.

Memories for a Hero

**Previously published by Perspectives Magazine**

by: Rebecca Taylor

           It is cold outside and snowflakes are dancing around the window making patterns on the glass. Inside, I am warm. The electric fireplace is on and the Christmas tree is aglow with its colourful lights and decorations. My friend just placed me beneath the tree’s beautiful branches. I am wrapped in gold paper that shimmers and am ready to be opened tomorrow if my recipient makes it home as he plans. I am a photo album filled with special memories collected by my friend fourteen year old Janey Merritt. As Janey worked on me, I could feel the emotions surge through her fingertips. The love she has for my recipient, her father, Lieutenant Peter Merritt fills me. The pictures and captions she has created swell within me. I am filled from cover to cover. The anticipation is everywhere in this house, I can feel it sitting down here with the other gifts. We sit together all waiting for our turns to be unveiled come morning. Each package is different, but we all have a common goal, to have our recipient enjoy us and be happy with the choice our giver made. 

            “Is it morning yet?” asked a small present wrapped in paper with a reindeer design on it.

            “Not yet,” I reply, “if we are quiet, Santa Claus will soon be coming and then in a while, the family will get up. I hope Lieutenant Peter makes it home in this snow.”

            “I’m scared,” said a present that was sitting inside a gift bag. What if Mrs. Merritt doesn’t like me?”

            “Why wouldn’t she like you?” I asked.

            “I don’t know. I’m a sweater and Timmy wasn’t sure if his mother would like me because I’m pink and he liked me better than the yellow one but….”

            “It’s the thought that counts,” I answer, “I’m sure she’ll like you. Everything I’ve seen of her tells me she’s a great person. I’m filled with photos of her and the rest of the Merritt family.”

            Just then the light outside the house came on and the gifts heard the thump that comes with the closing of a car door. This was followed by the rattling of the doorknob in the kitchen and the blowing snow that whooshed into the room. Lieutenant Merritt closed the door and walked into the living room in his military uniform to look at the splendour of the tree, which cloaked us.

 “It’s good to be home,” he said speaking to the room, which was empty except for us, the tree and the furniture.  The lieutenant placed some packages beneath the tree and then he quietly walked up the stairs. Later on in the night, Santa Claus came and gave us some more friends to get acquainted with.

The business of Christmas Day settled upon the Merritt family as it began to get light outside. When the children, Timmy and Janey greeted their father, their lasting hugs brought tears to my eyes and I had to rush to dry them because nobody likes a soggy present and I knew that Janey wouldn’t appreciate having the special gift she had worked so hard on be ruined by my waterworks. I was excited at the same time because I knew that I was the perfect thing for a man like Lieutenant Merritt. He has all the material possessions he desires and a family that adores him. Me, I am a souvenir of his life and what makes him special to his family and especially his teenage daughter.

When breakfast was finished, both Mrs. and Lieutenant Merritt’s parents joined the Merritts and the family settled into the living room onto the chairs around the tree to open the gifts below. When it came time for my grand opening, Janey handed me to her father and then stood by his side to watch him open it. He tore back my paper and was met with my face, which held a family photo taken the previous spring. He opened me up to find the message that Janey had written to her father. It said, Daddy, to the world you are a hero because you’re a soldier who has to go and fight to protect everyone’s freedom. You will always be my hero because you’re my Daddy. I want you to have this album for when you can’t be with us, so you can remember all the good times we have and come back home to us. Love you always, Janey. Lieutenant Merritt set me on the table beside him and stood to embrace his daughter once again.

“Thank you, Janey,” he whispered tears spilling from the corners of his deep blue eyes. “You, your mom and your brother, are my heroes because you’re the ones who are here having to deal with me being gone so much. I will always treasure this album, whether I’m overseas or home, it is precious. I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Daddy,” answered Janey.

I had to struggle once again not to let the emotions of this wonderful day get to me. Later that evening, Lieutenant Merritt sat by himself in the living room, I sat on his knee and he looked over my pages, admiring the photos some of which he had never seen before. I have missed so much, he thought, but that is a sacrifice that I agreed to undertake. My daughter couldn’t have given me a better present. Having my children be born was the best gift I have ever received. They are so precious to me. I pray that I will always make it home to them and my wife, so that they will not have to face what life is like when you lose someone you love. I’m going to make the best of my three months leave and let them know how much they mean to me. I’m going to make memories that could fill another album. Feeling Lieutenant Merritt’s love as he looked through me was an amazing feeling. I have discovered that Christmas is a very special time of year, one where people try to choose something to give those they love that has enough meaning to show how they feel. Miracles really do happen at Christmas. The snow could have kept the Merritt family apart but they ended up together for this special holiday. I feel blessed to have been able to spend it with them. I’m looking forward to my life with the Merritt family.  I know that I will be treasured forever and that is an wonderful feeling.



Go Anywhere

*Based off the photo post for the week*

We looked at the slightly antique bikes, just sitting there.

They weren’t even locked. As we got closer, I scouted out which one I wanted. Did I go for sturdy or antique look?

My two friends were probably not looking at them comparatively like me since I was more competitive than them. Sam was always observing nature and making comments about falling leaves and such while Dylan was constantly chatting with people.

“You know this is actually a different quite idea for two reasons,” Dylan started saying and I smiled to myself because he always had a number of reasons for thinking things. I had yet to discover a secret Pro/Con notebook of his but someday I would find it and see what my personal pros and cons were on his list.

“What are those two reasons?” Sam asked as he plucked up a piece of grass that had been missed by the lawnmower.

“One, they have been there for a long time so people will notice if they are gone and may possibly put the fact that we are riding odd bikes with the missing bikes from here,”  Dylan started in a professorial tone as Sam made the piece of grass into a bow.

“Secondly?” I asked.

Dylan smiled, “Two, they seem like Go Anywhere Bikes.”

I smiled at that idea and looked over at Sam. He held the grass bow up to his shirt and looked up at me with eyebrows raised, as if I was his mirror. I nodded in affirmation of his masterpiece.




“They must think this place is empty. Oh well, it might as well be. I know that look in their eyes,” Jackie said to her Mother who was dozing on the couch. They were at the Parks and Recreation Center of their small town and Jackie had finally decided her desk needed to be renovated and her Mother was ‘keeping her company.’

Her Mother stuttered awake, “What?”

“These kids look like trouble. They are looking at those old bikes. I can’t believe no one took them earlier though,” Jackie replied, watching them.

“Damned kids, can’t find healthy things to do so they all steal. I remember when I was a kid, reading and such,” the mother said.

“Yeah, what’d you read?” Jackie asked her Mom pertly.

“There’s too books many to mention. These kids and their situation. I see myself in them. I was that girl, the one with the boys but not the insanity and drama.”


“We were a peculiar group but we went places and we lived,” the Mother said reminiscently.

“Maybe I should kick them out or something,” Jackie told her Mother with an annoyed facial expression.

“No, they still have places to go,” the Mother replied as she leaned her head back again. “Let em take them bikes.”



“Which one should I have for myself?” Sam asked contemplatively.

“I dunno but I’m having this blue one here. It’s very much my style!” I replied as I went to the bike I wanted and started to pick the lock. Sam watched me for a moment before starting on his bike lock.

Dylan worked on his as he talked, “You know, this’ll be one of those stories that I tell my kids. When they’re older, of course. We have to make this experience story worthy, you know? I don’t want to not have kids without memories.”

I smiled at him while he talked. I knew that I could never let me see him watch me, so I would look away before he noticed. Eyes were a big thing to me but with his social personality I didn’t think he was on the same level as me.

We all got our bikes unlocked and looked around a little apprehensively but no one was really watching as they went on their ways. Or, maybe they thought we owned the bikes.

Did we look like we were antique bike owners?

“Wow, this is great. I’m riding a pink bike. Why did I pick this particular one?” Dylan asked us as he looked down at the bike he was straddling.

I pulled my bike up next to him and smirked, “Well you’ll be able to honk that horn if you’re crossing the street!”

He wasn’t about to reply so I looked to Sam. He brushed off his seat with a flourish and looked at me with a smile.

“Guys, why you just sitting there? Go Anywhere Bikes are meant to go somewhere.”

And so we did.

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