“Childhood is the one story that stands by itself in every soul.”
― Ivan Doig, The Whistling Season
I’m so surprised at how unexpected things can stir up such powerful ones.
My latest trip down memory lane was sparked by three little bowls I found at an estate sale. As I held them I was immediately transported back in time to Aunt Marie’s house in Omaha.
In my mind I saw myself standing in the little kitchen in front of the large farm-style sink, drying dishes. The person who dried the dishes had to put things away. It became my job because I was the tallest. Little did I know then just how much I should have enjoyed that title! Putting dishes away was not an easy task nor was it something you could do quickly. This was especially difficult due to the fact all the other kids in the neighborhood ate earlier. This meant we could hear them all running and we were being left out. The pressure was on me because no one could go out until we were all done.
To begin the process I had to duck in order to open the wide white cabinet door. Once open I was always amazed at the stacks and stacks of mis-matched china. My twelve-year old know it all mind could not grasp why anyone would choose to have all those different types, colors, and shapes of cups, saucers, and plates.
Today I realize and appreciate the fact that this massive cupboard held not only the original family china but pieces of sets from every family member who had died or moved away from Omaha.
As we got older, my sisters and I visited Marie when we could all get away for a long weekend. Looking back, it’s disappointing to me my young adult self did not have the insight to ask more questions about family and get details about that treasure trove of dishes. Now the dishes are gone as well as those incredible story tellers.
But, by the grace of God, I have physical reminders of Marie. Several times during the day I get to hold each one and thank God for her and for all she did for my family.
I pray she can hear me because I cannot imagine where any of us would have ended up without her.
“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane