Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “memories”

POM: April 4


Nikki Giovanni is a poet who knows how to capture a moment, a feeling, an event. She is a poet of note. This poem, never no matter it’s about Tennessee, gets me itching for summer. Summer and its treats is summer regardless of the state. Summer is a state all its own.

Knoxville, Tennessee

Nikki Giovanni, 1943

I always like summer
best
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy’s garden
and okra
and greens
and cabbage
and lots of
barbecue
and buttermilk
and homemade ice-cream
at the church picnic
and listen to
gospel music
outside
at the church
homecoming
and go to the mountains with
your grandmother
and go barefooted
and be warm
all the time
not only when you go to bed
and sleep

POM: April 3


Confession: I was a closet poker as a child.

*Whew* I’m glad that one is out of the way. Yes, I see that nod. You, too? What is it that fascinates the child to stand before a parent’s closet and sift through their belongings? I enjoyed parading around in my mom’s high heels, arraying myself in her scarves, her jewelry, and balancing a purse in the crook of my arm. Hats were in style back in my childhood. Well, maybe in the childhood before my childhood. I’ve always admired the fashions of the forties. A well-dressed adult always wore a hat. I missed those days of unspoken dress code by a decade or two. Hats once had meaning. Now they hide bad hair days. Never mind. I do enjoy what Mark Irwin shares about his own closet discoveries.

My Father’s Hats

     Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
     on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
     the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
     through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp earth was
     his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
     crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
     held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
     was that of clove in the godsome
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous
     sleep, I stand on this canyon floor
and watch light slowly close
     on water I can't be sure is there.

—Mark Irwin

Winter Wondering Land


Our region is experiencing the strangest winter. Usually the first snow hits around Thanksgiving and keeps increasing until even the snow aficionados are satisfied. Not this year. No snow outside. Nada. Nuttin. It felt more like Easter service than Advent Sunday service stepping outside of church recently. Sunny skies, a light, yet chillish breeze, a hint of better weather around the corner. I am not complaining. Not at all.

My idea of winter. See that touch of touch way up on the mountain? image: morguefile

Originally I grew up in the wet Northwest and snow at Christmas was an unexpected bonus. I even participated in the usual winter sports of skiing, skating, and sledding. I moved away and traded the dreary rainy winters for snowy ones. Change of pace? No, temporary insanity. Snow is definitely for the younger crowd. Growing older, having to deal with snow as an adult, the fun factor gets zipped out when one must zip into the expense of snow tires, the heave ho of shoveling snow, and surviving the tedium of four months of various shades and stages of this winter wonder as it passes from winter wonderland to icky icy mess.
Yet, Christmas is a bit more special with the lacings of snow. I’ll concede that point. Look at all those Christmas movies that require snow as part of their plot.
So, out of curiosity I hope you take my snow poll:
Show of hands, please…
“Bring on the snow!”
“No way, no snow.”
“Snow in the mountains only, thanks.”

Home Again, Toto


 

Thomas Wolfe is credited with saying you can’t go home again. Of course there are multiple layers of meaning in that statement. I noticed at least one aspect of meaning, the one where home becomes more of a memory as time goes on, after a recent visit to see family.  I’ve learned that it isn’t always a good idea to revisit former places of our childhood and jotted down my reflections as I walked through old neighborhoods.
A garbage sack mocks the spot where Mom’s potted azalea graced the front step. A gated barrier replaces the hand-carved mahogany doors. Weeds gather in loud conversations supplanting Dad’s meticulous landscape.

The donut shop remains the same odd little shaked chalet busied by Toyotas and BMWs alike. It’s a strange little anachronism among the neon corporate stores surrounding it. As I pass by it a memory flickers on. I remember back to high school. My stern take-no-prisoners-driver’s ed teacher revealed a soft spot one day by instructing me to pull into the donut shop parking lot. She disappears inside and returns with sack of donut holes. No one at school would have believed us. A secret only to be dredged up someday at a reunion possibly.

The town: a grace of upscale suburbia, an old community, struggling to maintain its dignity as its unique shoppes and colonial clapboard frontage succumb to being slowly replaced by box stores and parking lots. The stylish luxury apartments converted into condominiums are showing their wear, much like wrinkles found in a linen skirt mark the evidence of use.

Childhood memories remain, yet become increasingly marred by these yearly trips home. Perhaps it’s true that you can’t really go home again because home is now relegated to the past, then again sometimes home presents itself in a sound bite: the speed boat chop on the lake reminds me of teen summer fun; the smudgy glance into favored memory flashes by as I drivepast an icon building, the steepled church where youth group met ever so long ago. Upscale Neighborhoods slip into weedy shabbiness, stretching sections from nice to nervous when walking through.

A hodge-podge of cultures, a grab bag of mixed socio-economic populace is startling while browsing for dinner ingredients at the local Safeway, and becomes a reminder that going home is a state of flux.

I concur with Dorothy–Kansas, metaphorically speaking, is not the same because it’s changed  and so have I.

Dorothy5 Dorothy, I know how you feel–there’s no place like home. Then again, home is sometimes just a memory or that special place in our heart. (photo: wizardofozpictures.com)

 

Poet Appreciation #10: Abraham Lincoln


We associate Abraham Lincoln with the Civil War, tall silk hats, a famous speech, a humble man with a distinctive beard, a day off in February, and the sadness that comes when great people are struck down too soon. Connecting our sixteenth president to poetry doesn’t usually pop up in the usual sixty-second classroom brainstorm activity.  And yet, here is proof Honest Abe had so much more to him than we give him credit for.

image: history.com

My Childhood Home I See Again
by Abraham Lincoln

My childhood home I see again,

And sadden with the view;

And still, as memory crowds my brain,

There’s pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world

‘Twixt earth and paradise,

Where things decayed and loved ones lost

In dreamy shadows rise, 

 

And, freed from all that’s earthly vile, 

Seem hallowed, pure, and bright, 

Like scenes in some enchanted isle 

All bathed in liquid light. 

 

As dusky mountains please the eye 

When twilight chases day; 

As bugle-notes that, passing by, 

In distance die away; 

 

As leaving some grand waterfall, 

We, lingering, list its roar– 

So memory will hallow all 

We’ve known, but know no more. 

 

Near twenty years have passed away 

Since here I bid farewell 

To woods and fields, and scenes of play, 

And playmates loved so well. 

 

Where many were, but few remain 

Of old familiar things; 

But seeing them, to mind again 

The lost and absent brings. 

 

The friends I left that parting day, 

How changed, as time has sped! 

Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray, 

And half of all are dead. 

 

I hear the loved survivors tell 

How nought from death could save, 

When Movies Meant…


A box of Junior Mints

Movies and Junior Mints. The perfect combo.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Movies. I do enjoy a great flick. Admittedly, I rarely actually go to the theater anymore to watch a first run.  You will find me trawling the New Releases at my supermarket instead. Why? Oh, lots of reasons.  The main reason is because I remember when movies meant…

1. A Really Special Night Out.
We dressed up and anticipated An Evening. We selected the movie, the theatre, and piled into the family Buick and drove downtown. After parking, we promanaded along the sidewalk, anticpating the moment Dad stepped up to the little glass booth and announced out ticket needs: “1 child, 2 adults, 1 teen.” Stepping inside we handed the uniformed usher our tickets and entered into the lobby.  MyOMy–as a kid I felt like Dorothy entering Oz. Plush carpets, shiny brass rails, subdued lighting, posters of upcoming movies.  And an upstairs.  The bathrooms were marble and gloriously huge. Stalls galore.  Just going to the theatre proved thrill enough.

2. More For Your Money.
Not only did your ticket gain you admission into the glamour of the Rialto or Roxy, it secured two to three hours of absolute transfixing entertainment. The red velvet curtains parted, and the newsreel played, and then the cartoon: Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker or maybe Tom and Jerry. The B feature (hence the term “B” grade film) played and finally the MAIN feature. I can’t remember all the films my parents brought me to and I don’t remember too many babysitters, but I do remember hanging out on the stairs while my folks watched Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl or Hello Dolly and the like. No problem if I wasn’t in sight. It was the good old days.  Safe and sane times. It was G, M, or X back then.  No, my folks didn’t take me to any X-rateds, but I do remember my share of shoot em-ups with Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Sean Connery. Dad picks. Barbara Streisand if Mom picked. If the adult fare bored me or if the folks thought I should “step out” for a bit I would traipse upstairs and perch on the steps to peer down on the those below. Maybe even sneak into the balcony section, at least until the usher checked through with his flashlight. 

3. Appreciation For Seeing the Film Right Then or Miss It.
A person anticipated a movie. The previews tickled our curiosity. The television adverts build up suspense. And finally the standing in line to see the newest. Because if you didn’t see it in the movie theatre you waited until it came out on Movie of the Week on the TV and then it would be sliced up by commercials or sanitized to neatly fit into alloted time slot.  No VHS, let alone DVD or Blu-Ray or streamed versions. WhoTube?

4. Snack Bar
Milk Duds or Junior Mints tasted far better being purchased from the theatre snack bar. Yes, they were more expensive, but the box was bigger.  You never found that size box at the local grocery store.  And there is something better about movie popcorn as well, especially the Dr. Pepper that went with it.

5. Disney In All Its Glory
My much older brother received Matinee Duty. Then again I am sure he derived some pleasure out of driving the family car downtown and getting movie and snack bar money, out of watching Lil Sis for a couple of hours.  There is nothing like watching a Buena Vista nature film prior to the REAL show.  Disney Movies do best on the Silver Screen. Moon Spinners, Jungle Book–ohgolly, those were the days.  The Walt days of Disney.  Yup, the best days of Disney.

I could do a whole separate blog on the Drive-In experience. Hmm, I probably will.

Though I will always and forever be a Book Booster, I do enjoy my flicks. These days though, it’s the big screen via the comfort of the living room.  Got my recliner and my remote control.  I also crave those Special Features.

My inspiration for the Old Days of Movie Going came from this here  Check it out.  If you remember Bugs Bunny days you’ll love the reminiscing.  If you don’t remember Bugs and the Merrie Melodies theme song–ah well, let’s just say, the good old days were really good in many ways.

The Essential Bugs Bunny

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