Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Nostalgia Reexamined

Nostalgia Reexamined

The sublimity remembered when memory has its turn
often has beginnings in nostalgia’s timely churn.
That teenage bliss that we recall as being overjoyed
if remembered correctly would be being over-boyed.
Our adoration of the past is easier than giving
all the same attention to the life that we are living.

 

Prompt words today are nostalgia, overjoyed, adoration and sublimity.

Short Story

Short Story

Have you built a final fortress behind the winding wall
so you need not deal with this crazy world at all?
Is your lofty Shangri-la an adequate escape
from the headlines of the day—the raw world’s rub and scrape?
Have you left behind the saga of this noisy world
to hide out in your quiet cave where you are snugly curled
in your Barclay lounger, an old cat on your lap,
your only excitement rubbing against its nap?

How the needles click and clack as you knit and purl,
remembering small triumphs from when you were a girl.
No need for social intercourse or charity or giving.
Each year you knit out a life that contains less living,
striving for an entity devoid of stress and trouble,
sealed up neat and tidy in your private bubble.
This is really living, you tell yourself each day—
loneliness the only price that you have to pay.

 

Prompt words today were lofty, escape, quiet and saga.

Our Gang Comedy

Nancy Merrill is sponsoring a photo challenged entitled Nostalgia. Here is my take on the matter:

I think the year was around 1952. We were gathered for a play put on by the two cowgirls at the top of this photo. Susan, the tallest girl and also the older sister of one of the cowgirls, doesn’t look overly enthusiastic about being there. I was the little blonde girl overacting in the second row and the sister of the other cowgirl. I was their “mystery personality.” Anyone who guessed who I was (The Sunbeam Bread Girl) got a prize. They put on a few of these productions and I always thought they were wonderful.  The year before, my mystery personality had been Bonnie Braids (of Dick Tracy fame.) When they called out, “Who knows who the mystery personality is?” Bobby Lathrop yelled out, “That’s Judy Dykstra!!!” and I cried. Ah, nostalgia

 

Flying Kites

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Flying Kites

Since I was a little girl, trying to construct my own one-dimensional classically-shaped kite out of tissue paper and raw wood sticks, I’ve always been fascinated by kites.  Kites were a bonding medium between my husband’s youngest son and me and I remember once taking a new boyfriend up on the hill to fly a kite after our first amorous encounter and actually, never seeing him again. I’m sure I’ve become the subject of one of his scornful “weird chick” stories.

Kites eventually evolved into more exotic shapes than those first fragile little assemble-it-yourself kites that came as paper and string tightly wound around a disassembled skeleton of unsanded sticks sure to provide a number of slivers during assembly. In my twenties, I bought a lovely cellophane kite in the shape of a jellyfish that actually traveled with me to Mexico twenty years later. It was the kite I’d sailed off the pier in Huntington Beach, in the sand of beaches near L.A. and from a campground north of San Diego.

I can’t remember what has become of it since I moved to Mexico eighteen years ago. Perhaps it is in a box somewhere or perhaps it eventually disintegrated and was thrown away, but my fascination with kites did not expire with it and so when I saw the kite vendor next to the road that runs between Ajijic and San Juan Cosala, I immediately pulled over, turned around and went back to examine the glorious three-dimensional fabric kites.  They were in the shapes of birds of prey, dragons, fish, and other fanciful creatures.  I chose a hawk and a dragon and bought both.

I couldn’t wait to get home and go up to my roof to fly one.  Ground level at my house furnishes too many places for a kite to get tangled up in: bougainvillea vines, palm trees, roof tiles and phone lines. I went up the stairs to the second level terraza and unfurled the hawk kite.  It was a windy day and it did not disappoint, but soon rose to the full extension of its string. Real birds occasionally circled around it, wondering no doubt what weird bird was this.  But after a few minutes, when I looked down from the mesmerizing sight of my own kite hovering far above, I noticed in amazement a similar kite soaring high above my neighbor’s house down below.

Not one but two men were up on the high dome of their house flying a kite! Now I must say that I had lived in my house for sixteen years and had still never met these neighbors.  There is an empty lot between us as well as high walls surrounding both of our properties, as is the norm in Mexico.  Tall trees and weeds have grown up between us and they are just occasional weekend visitors to their vacation house. We share a gardener, Pasiano, and that has been the extent of our relationship for the now 18 years I’ve been residing here.  But they seemed to spot my kite the moment I spotted theirs.  I waved from my high perch. They waved from theirs, further down the hill. And I think we both felt a momentary sense of unity.

Since then, that kite has resided, rewound into a tight bundle, in my umbrella stand, along with its fellow kite, still a virgin and as a result, more tightly and professionally wound.  I don’t know why I’d never thought to fly either of them since then, but as I was packing to go to the beach last January, my eye fell on the umbrella stand.  No need for an umbrella at the beach, but a kite?  Yes!  I chose the more flamboyant red dragon kite. I would finally see it fully extended!  The cord was stuck into the cellophane sheath that surrounded it–a flat plastic structure with the strong braided nylon cord wound tightly around it.  Into my fully-packed car it went.

Once I arrived in La Manzanilla, the kite took up residence with my art supplies, sticking up out of a large plastic box that sat on the dining table bench behind the table, which was never used for dining but instead became my computer table and art center. There was much to do–greeting old friends, working on music for CD’s to go with my children’s books, writing groups and readings, planning art activities for friends, swimming, beach combing, dining, dancing, observing the nightly parades that streamed by my house, dealing with the all-night LOUD music from nearby bars, coping with the muffler-less motorcycles that streamed by my house at 3 in the morning.

It was a month after I’d arrived at the beach that my eye fell on my long-overlooked second kite.  It was a nice windy day on the beach. I’d seen at least one other kite flying–something I’d never witnessed in the ten years I’d been coming to this relatively sleepy little town. Here were no high-rise hotels or swinging discotheques like the ones in Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan.  Here were little restaurants and night spots frequented by the ever-increasing number of American and Canadian writers, musicians, actors and artists who swelled out the population of the little town for 6 months of every year—those months before the humidity and heat grew too intense to bear.

So, finally, I took my wonderful kite out for its inaugural flight. Assembly required only crossing two long slender plastic spines and slipping their ends into pouched slots on the snout, tail end and two front legs of the dragon and attaching the cord to a center ring. The long expanse of the cord was wound around a flat plastic spindle that had been packaged up with the kite.  I slathered on sunscreen and went out to my back porch that overlooked the beach, descended the stairs and began to unwind the cord.  The kite rose immediately into the air, born by the strong coastal breeze.  It shot upwards and upwards and upwards and––then it was soaring up and over the long line of vacation rentals and restaurants that lined the beach and I was holding the cord winder to which, it seems, the cord had not been attached!

Within seconds, my beautiful kite was gone with the wind and out of sight.  I ran quickly down the beach to a small restaurant that furnished ingress to the main street of the little town that fronted the house I rented every year.  I ran out onto the street, madly looking up and down for my kite, fearing to find it plastered against the windshield of a wrecked car or in broken splinters, shards and rags after being run over. I looked up and down, up and down, then ran to the center of the street to finally see it, a block away, held streaming behind the form of a small girl on the back of her mother’s motorcycle, speeding down the brick-paved street into the distance. I ran after it, shouting, creating quite a spectacle of myself, then stopped, realizing they would probably make the circuit around the plaza and come back again, as all the other motorcycles always did.  But alas, I never saw the motorcycle or the little girl and mother or my beautiful new kite again. They had vanished into the labyrinthine sand streets of the little town.

For another month, I looked for it in the skies above the beach. The house I rent is only one building away from the main paved entrance to the beach and the hub of beach life, but alas, it never appeared.  I console myself with the thought of the astonishment of the little girl as it soared over the rooftops and within her reach—her delight as she held it streaming out behind her, her other hand securely clutching her mother as they created a beautiful spectacle witnessed by everyone watching that day from sidewalks, benches or the inside of stores, restaurants and galleries along that main thoroughfare. Witnessed by me, standing center-road, regretting its loss.  But at night, before I fall to sleep, as I look for the ten thousandth time at the paintings that cover the walls of my bedroom, I imagine that little girl in her room, my splendid red dragon kite tacked to the adobe wall in front of her bed.  Her little miracle.  Her treasure, perhaps, for the rest of her life.

 

 

 

Prompt words today were kite, scorn, labyrinthine and instant. Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/rdp-saturday-kite/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/03/30/fowc-with-fandango-scorn/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/your-daily-word-prompt-labyrinthine-march-30-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/03/30/instant/

Family Reunion: Final Spin

Family Reunion: Final Spin

The first couple on the dance floor were surely insignificant.
Bent-over spines and frosted hair made them less magnificent
than all the younger dancers who came out to surround them—
making them invisible as they grouped all around them.
The music started and the pairs all commenced their waltzing—
with glides and dips, extended arms, and all that fancy schmaltzing.
Soon, however, they backed off from something in the middle.
Voices hushed throughout the room until only the fiddle,
piano and the clarinets were heard in the night air
as all the others dancers watched a central pair
of waltzers gliding o’er the floor, eyes wrapped up in each other,
once again that little girl just dancing with her brother,
magically suspended in those steps taught by their mother.

The prompt words today are frosted, pair, insignificant and waltzing. And, the cat bit me on the tip of my little finger today and I’m wearing a bandaid, so forgive any typing errors. Especially regarding ‘”[{}]or/?  It may have been a very aggressive love nip or a hurry up and feed me nip or an excessive response to a really good ear scratch/neck rub, but whichever it was, it was very naughty and brought blood. Perhaps vestigial remains of the blood moon of a few nights ago.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/rdp-saturday-frosted/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/01/26/fowc-with-fandango-pair/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/your-daily-word-prompt-insignificant-january-26-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/01/26/waltzing/

Material Things (Two Word Challenge) : Six Gifts for My Sister

 

Six Gifts for My Sister

 

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Six Gifts for my Sister

 Older sisters are our teachers, our critics, our cruelest enemies and our best friends. When we were younger, my sister was no exception. With age, however, some of these roles have fallen away. The others I often take for granted even though I know they are still there.

This year I will be, as I have been for most years in my life, far away from my four-year-older sister, Patti, for Christmas. Betty, my 11-year-older sister, unfortunately started to leave us four years ago and now lives in a world we are not a part of. Both Patti and I fear the same thing happening to us and we’ve made some Thelma and Louise pacts to that end. Hopefully, we’ll never have to use them and will fade peacefully away in our dreams when we are well over 100.

If this sounds excessive, you are right. I am a glutton for life and probably part of the reason is the capacity for play taught to me by my sister, who was always my most imaginative playmate. Even when I’m sad, I love living and want for life to go on for as long as possible, so long as I remain relatively pain-free and retain my mind, my sense of humor and my girlish good figure. One of these things does not belong. You can probably guess which one.

Since I live in Mexico and my sister will be in her home near Phoenix this year, we have sent gifts early. Mine sits on top of the armoire in my beach rental in its blue wrapping bag with curly ribbon. I have added a pelican feather and gaudy ribbon streamers. Since I’ve chosen to spend this Christmas far from friends and other relatives, it is my only gift and I am hoarding its mystery until the last possible minute. Perhaps I’ll open it at 11:55 P.M. on December 25! I’m sure my sister has not opened hers, either.

A usual tradition in our family was to do Christmas stockings to which we all contributed. (Well, except for my dad, who instead donated the cash we all used to purchase our stocking stuffers.) With that in mind and feeling sentimental, I’d like to assemble an imaginary Christmas stocking for my sister to open right now—as soon as she sees this. It’s a not such a large stocking, but as in all things imaginary, anything is possible; so I’m sure all the gifts will fit.

I need to start at the top, with the lightest most crushable items, and so the first gift she will find sticking out of the top of the stocking will be something flat, rolled into a cylinder before wrapping. When she rips off the paper in her usual unceremonial fashion, she will know exactly why I have given it to her.

It is a folder of Debra Paget paper dolls with snub-nosed scissors taped to the front to encourage her to actually cut them out. I have visions of them decorating her tree for the remainder of its life this year, or even better, my sister on her stomach on the living room rug, cutting them out while she listens to “Our Miss Brooks” or “The Shadow” on the radio, then assembles the material for a paper doll house: Kleenex box beds and sofas, tuna can tables covered in tissue tablecloths. Since she taught me these imaginary games, she’ll figure out the rest. Then I want her to imagine me there playing with her. She can be Debra Paget. I’ll be anyone she wants me to be, as was the norm way back then when we constructed our first paper worlds.

The next box she pulls from the stocking will be long, narrow and flattish. It will weigh practically nothing. There will be instructions on the front to open it more carefully than usual, for it is fragile. When she folds back the paper, she’ll find a box of the old aluminum tinsel—the extra long and extra skinny type that only she knew how to put on perfectly. It was an art, this distribution of tinsel on the tree. One had to be sure to spread it out evenly in bunches of only three or four strands. For maximum beauty, it had to be hung on the ends of branches so it hung just to the top of the next branch without lapping over. In our house, it was never thrown! I am absolutely sure that now, as then, Patti and I are the only ones with patience enough to do the job right, so she will have to do it for both of us.

I’m sure that what the next gift is will be obvious. It is a Christmas tradition started by my mother, who would tuck a small box of Russell Stover Chocolates in each stocking. At times, she would succumb to temptation and all of the boxes would be empty as she generously absorbed all of their calories herself. I am making one small change in tradition and tucking in a box of See’s Chocolates in lieu of Mother’s poor taste in chocolate. Helen Grace would be even better, if I knew where to buy them.

The next box is small and may have slid a bit farther down in the stocking when the others were removed, so I’ve attached a streamer that extends well out of the top of the sock. Pull the streamer and the little box will pop out. Inside is a key. Looks like the key to a car. Actually, it is the key to a little tan Scout whose top can be taken off to make it a convertible. Here are the instructions I’ve written for Patti and wrapped around the key:

There is room for the driver (that’s you) and one more friend in front. (That’s me.) I am sitting there in honor of friends no longer able to: Patty Peck, Diane Looby, Mary Jo Kuckleberg. I think Karen Bossart is so slim that she could also squeeze in front with us. In the back, along the side benches and on the floor, if you really pack them in, there is room for at least eight others and I have written them all to be expecting your call. Billy Francis, Clarence Rea, Mick Penticoff and Bobby Brost are all must-rides. Since the male friends of your youth have outlasted most of your female friends, Billy and C.J. and Mick can bring their wives to sit in for Patty, Diane and Mary Jo. If my buddy Rita North were going to be in Arizona for Christmas (she isn’t) she could tag along as both of us always longed to do—and sometimes we were actually asked! Jim, I don’t think a Scout is your style, but be a sport and ride along in the back with the guys! You’ll discover formerly undiscovered levels of fun bumping along in this replica of Patti’s and my first wheels. And there is always room for one more in the back of a Scout!

The next gift is merely an envelope. Inside are two tickets to Africa. The accompanying note reads:

—To complete our journey that was once curtailed by a revolution and shooting that sent you off to bravely face the rest of the trip alone. It’s about time we tried it again, hopefully with happier endings. Since then, you’ve been back so many times that you can probably pick the agenda better than I could, so it’s an open ticket. You fill in the blanks.

So, we’ve finally come to the bottom of the stocking, but anyone who has plunged into the depths of a Christmas stocking knows there is always something left in the stocking’s toe. In this case it is a small but substantial box wrapped in rich gold paper with a shiny silver cord. Inside is a slide with a large diamond set in gold. Although I know that gold and diamonds are no longer my sister’s “style,” this one is a wonderful modern design with an emerald-cut stone set in a flat gold setting. It is this gift that I’ve chosen to show her worth to me and for that, nothing but the best will do!

Merry Christmas to all. Especially to that sister who has been there for me every single time and who need never worry again about being mean to me in our youth. That, too, is what older sisters are meant to do. It gets us ready for the world, which will not always be paper dolls and U’ing main in a Scout chock full of friends.


This is a reblog of a piece I wrote three years ago. The two word prompt this time was “Material Things:” If you want to play along or see other blog entries for this prompt, go here: https://teresacreationsblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/daily-two-word-prompt-121/

Sweet Harmony

Two years ago, when I visited friends from my childhood that I hadn’t seen for scores of years, we had a wonderful time  going through a box of mementos and then gathering around the piano to make  music as sweet as the memories.  Susan is a wonderful pianist and Karen a professional-level singer with a lovely soprano voice that always sends chills down my back.  Patti and I, good high school altos that we once were, created the harmony.  A perfect day with three of my favorite people whom I don’t see often enough.  Sweet Harmony for sure.

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Small Reunion

The pianist deftly presses out her chords.
The soprano’s voice slides smoothly from her throat
while we others strain until “Dear Heart” syrups our vocal chords
and we slip with less effort up and down the scale—
old friends singing even older songs.

The small dog snuggles in,
balancing on the plush chair back.
The mother of the pianist and the soprano
observes from her frame atop the piano.
All husbands out and about on other business.

Old letters reread, old memories pulled from forgetfulness,
each of us is left at the end richer—hearts refilled
from a shared past. Every word
has been a song of its own—
our notes blending together
in perfect harmony.

The prompt today was harmonize. This is a rewrite of a piece blogged two years ago. I’m getting ready for Camp Estrella so there won’t be much time for blogging for the next week!