Archive | memoir mondays RSS feed for this section

Father’s Day

15 Jun

When my mother telephoned us this morning, she called my cell phone rather than the house phone.  I was puzzled until she asked if we were camping.  Father’s Day is a day to do what Dad wants and it was a very reasonable assumption that Greg would want to be camping on Father’s Day.  In fact, that would have been a great idea.

The Millers take a walk

We weren’t, of course, camping this Father’s Day.  With the end of school, I think all I could have managed was what we did do.  Greg got a cool t-shirt, a pair of crocs, and a tire cover for the motorhome.

All wonderful things that he’ll use regularly.  More importantly though, we spent a day letting him set the agenda, letting him be selfish, letting him sleep in the car while I drove, letting him say where we’d eat breakfast.  We took his mother with us too.  This is the first Father’s Day without Greg’s father.  Being there for his mother was important as well.

Holidays take on new meaning and new layers of feeling with each death in one’s life.  Not a major event goes by that I don’t wonder what my father would have thought of this, would he have been proud, would he have been there.  Father’s Day is bittersweet this year without my father-in-law.  The empty chair at the breakfast table stood out to me but remained unspoken.  We celebrated Greg’s fatherhood without dwelling on the loss of his own father.  I think it’s a comfort thing — we might have cried, we might have gotten swept up in sadness.

My children, however, are so clear and direct about their feelings.  As we wrapped Greg’s gifts this morning (hey, he likes to sleep late . . . we had time!), Ruthie said to me, “If Grampa were alive, we’d be wrapping more presents, wouldn’t we?”

Yes, honey, we would be.  And, thank you for thinking of him.

Memoir Mondays is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.


Memoir Mondays: First Dance

9 Jun

Shaving.  Shaving is a rite of passage that teenage girls must go through in America.  I first shaved under my arms when I was 12.  We were spending the summer with my grandparents in Westhampton Beach on Long Island.  Oh, it’s not as fancy as it sounds — they were townies for a couple of generations.  But, it was good fun.  We went to the Swordfish Club everyday and swam until our skin was deep dark brown with white blonde hair.  Well, except the hair that was sprouting under my arms.  My grandmother is an odd woman.  She firmly believes that body hair will stop growing if you NEVER shave it.  Living in Santa Cruz county in California, I can show her many, many women who prove that theory wrong — also, never plucking those old lady chin hairs will not stop them from growing either.  At any rate, the hair under my arms was to be ignored until it went away.  Idiot woman.  Sigh.  Thankfully, the woman we took swim lessons from realized that I was on my own here and helped me out.  She got me a Flicker razor.  Very cool razor with some sort of safety stuff coiled over the blade so it was easy to cut hair but hard to cut yourself.  Nice thing for a 12 year old who was experimenting without Grandmop finding out. Given that she never knew I shaved, she probably figures the lack of hair on my legs when she sees me proves her theory.  Hmmmm.

Fast forward half a year.  We are now home in the high Sierra mountains, as far from Long Island as one can get.  I’m going to my first school dance — at a tiny mountain school.  This school is kindergarten through 8th grade.  My grade only had 8 students in it so they lumped us with the grade behind and taught us the same stuff we’d learned the previous year.  Still, a first dance is a big thing.  Dress laid out, panty hose at the ready.  Time for a shower and, as it is a first dance, I figure I’d better shave my legs.  No Flicker razors here so I use my step-father’s razor.  How different can it be?

Well, it can be different all right.  Different enough that I removed a half inch wide strip of skin up the full length of my shinbone.  That kind of different.  Different enough that I had to put a row of band-aids up my leg from ankle to knee.  Pretty damned different.

I still shave my legs in the summer and on special occasions in the winter.  Everytime I shave them now, I inwardly flinch and very gingerly shave up my shinbone.  Turns out you don’t need a lot of strength to shave the tiny hairs off your legs successfully.  Live and learn . . . and then wear band-aids under your pantyhose.

Memoir Mondays is hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Memoir Mondays: Comfort Food

2 Jun

Comfort can be found in homemade macaroni and cheese. Lots of cheese equals lots of comfort. My mother made the most fantastic macaroni and cheese. Not the kind in a box or from the freezer, homemade, bubbling with browned, wonderful cheese on top. No bread crumbs or anything exotic. Just four ingredients — macaroni, milk, cheese and butter. Put together just so, it makes magic.

Magic that soothes aches and pains — not physical ones, just those deep, scarring emotional ones.

My own children used to love macaroni and cheese — but not my homemade kind. The frozen kind — ugh. They stopped liking it that “yesterday, it was my favorite; today, it’s disgusting” way that kids have — note that this only happens the day after you make a trip to Costco so that you’ll never run out again! I hope that someday, they’ll like my homemade macaroni and cheese. Comfort food that gets handed down through generations.

In the meantime, try it yourself. It’s amazing!

Mimi’s Macaroni and Cheese

1 lb macaroni
1 T butter
20 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup of milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 pan. Cook macaroni in boiling water in large pot for least amount of time on the directions (very al dente). Drain. Return to pot and toss with butter. Mix in 1/2 the cheese. Turn into prepared dish. Top with remaining cheese. Pour milk over. Cover with foil. Bake 25 minutes.

Note: Do not make mistake of covering with casserole lid — the cheese can act like the most amazing glue and you may never get that lid off that casserole dish! Seriously!

Memoir Mondays are brought to you by Two Writing Teachers. Join in?

Memoir Mondays

19 May

Two Writing Teachers are hosting Memoir Mondays now.  (Thank you to Kevin for pointing me in this direction!)  The first assignment this week is a then and now look at friendship.

I met my best friend, D, in High School.  She was one of the golden people — clever, accomplished, popular.  I was not.  I was not unpopular — I had lots of friends and high school wasn’t the sort of nightmare for me that it is for many people.  Still my friend, D, was an intimidating figure at school.  She seemed to have everything.  When she sought me out, I was confused.  For a long time, I felt strongly that she only sought me out because she was friends with my boyfriend and if we broke up, she’d drop me cold.  I underestimated her badly.

We are still good friends — although, to be fair, I am now married for 20 years to that same boyfriend!  We have been through heartache and pain together.  We have stood up for each other in weddings.  We have had children at the same age.  We’ve vacationed together and drank together and built lives together.

We do not see each other enough — both of us have overly full lives.  But, when we do get together, all the time slips away and we are strong friends.  She is someone I absolutely rely on and I know she trusts me the same way.  Then, our friendship was fragile and delicate.  Now, our friendship is a rock we both depend upon.