Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where Memory Lane Crosses the Birthday Path

Ever get the feeling that the universe is conspiring against you. That no matter what actions you take some other force seems to lead you down paths you would rather not have to travel.

In my case, I am not one for walks down memory lane. I have no idea what is lurking there that I do not want to be forced to recall. A dread comes over me and warning bells start pinging in my head each time I am led near something that is connected with my past.

My 86 yr old mother is on the left and her 92 yr. old sister is on the right.

I am next to my cousin in the middle, we always said that fate switched
us at birth since we seem to have the personality of each other's mom.

Earlier this month we took a trip down south to escort my mother on a visit to her surviving siblings and to also attend the dedication of a monument the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) were erecting in a cemetery in Brundidge, Alabama to honor my mother’s great-great-great-grandfather who fought in the American Revolution. That ceremony sparked new interest for a cousin researching our family history and, as a result, it was discovered that one of my mother’s lost first cousins had recently died in a city less than fifty miles from where I live, leaving children and grandchildren that none of us knew existed. As the oldest of my mother’s children, she now wants me to arrange for her to meet these new relatives.

Mom at the memorial ceremony

Yesterday, the need for the Old Salt to see a specialist took us back to what was the nearest big town when I was growing up. A town I lived in just after high school and were I got my first job, also the town where I married my first husband. I had not visited there in over thirty years. This was not just a drive to the medical building and then home again. It was necessary for me to wait 6 hours while my husband was tested. Since it also happened to be the first nice day in weeks, I was able to get out and enjoy the sunshine. I walked to the house where I used to live and strolled down changed but still familiar streets that were once part of my life. While it is true that you can’t go home again, usually because the home you remember isn’t at all the same. Nevertheless, I was able to see enough clues to bring back memories of when I was young and all of life was before me.
Me looking out at my home town from the medical building

Since our trip I have been keeping old memories at bay by staying too busy for them to intrude. But, since my walk down the streets of old town in St. Charles yesterday a great feeling of melancholy settled in that I can’t shake. My sleep last night was restless and my dreams of the exorcist variety; dark and sinister. Today my sense of dread has me wanting to hop a train for unknown parts in hopes that I can outrun what I do not care to face. I am kicking myself for taking all those walks down memory lane of late.

I lived here for two years after high school in a rented sleeping room

It might just be that since those trips coincided with the arrival of my Medicare card, the combination has me felling old and cheated. Being the oldest of thirteen children forced me to mature quickly and I always held out hope that at some point in my life, I would get to make up for the youth I never had. Perhaps, I am just feeling sorry for myself and realizing that is one wish which will remain forever on my bucket list.


  1. I,too, try to avoid the artifacts of sentiment, the recollection of things past and, now, lost. Though I know I cannot stay young, I can remain immature. I have subscribed to this doctrine ever since I was too old to say I was still young, as you may have noticed.


  2. What a remarkable post and full of insight, Rita!
    ... I'm been "fixin to" respond now for 3 days, waiting to say something profound, I suppose. LOL.
    You see, I've swung the OTHER direction in the last few years -- whereby I'm spending more time looking back than forward. Not healthy, I know. I'll call it "Avoidance"!
    Thank you for your sweet note; I think of you two often ... and smile.


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