#Free Write Friday, Kellie Elmore

Credit: We Heart It

 

Nowhere To Go, In Time Or Place

I felt the tears of uncertainty and dread spring to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away with the back of my hand because if I didn’t they would stick to my face like hot glue. Change hasn’t happened in our lives for years but I know, in my gut, we will be saying good-bye to the world as we knew it, forever.

Saying good-bye to the past, yet clinging, pathetically, to the memories that I hold dear. Old memories that rust in time but bloom in my brain like day lilies.

Another chapter will be beginning but we don’t know when or where.  Getting older is not easy unless you are a sweet, innocent child. Children love to turn another year older, there is no death in their future, just presents, and  cakes with candles, hope, fun and friends.The aged lack hope universally.

For us, their parents or grandparents, it takes on a whole other realm of closing a chapter and warily beginning another, the last third chapter or the beginning of the end. We don’t celebrate parties in the same way anymore; birthdays come around, it feels like, every few months. There is no happiness in aging when you can’t go back in time. Even memories become stale, photographs, blurry.

Our bodies hurt, pain clings to us like Saran wrap on cheese, transparent, almost impossible to remove. It holds us hostage in our weary, broken bodies

I hold on to the wooden stair rail, going downstairs slowly, sticky over time, but now I am fond of the predictable stickiness in certain areas. I have walked up and down these stairs thousands of times, with sick babies, and naughty toddlers, with gleeful children and with young adults I was proud to call my children. I walked with my husband supporting me and me supporting him.

I am not sure of the timeline, of when we will leave. It could be as early as six months but it could be more like a year, maybe two. The jittery nerves inside me says it will sneak up on us like a deer crossing our path in front of our car in the dead of the night.

I have practiced saying good-bye to everyone I love and have to leave behind in my shaken heart. I will be leaving this home, this carrier of memories. I know I am on my way, still clutching to some false sense of security.

Entering into another phase of my life, of our lives. I have to control myself from me not to sob out loud. I know this tiny, white house which in six months could be painted navy blue or brown. I don’t know, I will never know. But it will never be my house again. My children will not grow up here, the trees we planted for the children will stay and the two big gray rocks other people’s children will climb on.

We are homeless, we have nowhere to go although we can stay for a little time in a few places but never like this again. The locks on the doors will be changed in two days, maybe three, new owners will eventually move in.  The FOR SALE sign on the front yard seems to deface our property. It has already defaced our home.

English: for sale sign

A chapter in our lives is about to be over, a new chapter has not yet been written, the lines blur together. We are standing, clutching on to memories not yet ready or willing to create new ones. I am not sure I will ever want to make new ones.

We step aside, we cling to the naked walls and to each other with the depths of our depression in our hearts beating slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Ex-Hippie Trying To Say Good-Bye

Dear Fellow Aging Hippies,

It’s only my opinion and mostly it’s a lesson I need to learn myself but I think our time has come and gone, forever. It’s a tough thing to admit, believe me, I know. Maybe, it’s time for us aging Baby Boomers to finally accept it and let the new generation take over the world instead of us reminiscing about “The Beatles and Peace, Love, and Rock n’ Roll.” As special as it was for those of us in that generation it is time  all of us to move on, to look forward and not behind.

Painted Hippie Bus

Painted Hippie Bus (Photo credit: terbeck)

You’re talking to someone who has fought this for a very long time. I confess. I was born in 1956 and while I missed the really good stuff like Woodstock I still claimed fame to being a Baby Boomer and all the power the name itself implied. Sure, my kids grew up on The Beatles, CSN and Y, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and the Rolling Stones but I am still playing that very same music today. Somehow it seems wrong. We are way too old for that now.Will I change my music listening preferences? Hell, no.

That’s the hard part. Figuring out what to do now. Most of us can’t retire yet, a lot of us have been laid off but still need money coming into the house, to pay many bills. How are we going to do that? We have no idea and it’s not for lack of trying either. There are no jobs around, at least for us and we will move anywhere.

My children are in their twenties, it’s their time. I don’t care if they have a special name or a title ( Gen X, Y, Z? ) but their generation is having its time now. We need to start thinking not about where to retire but how to have enough money to get through the next ten years to be able to retire if we are lucky enough to do so.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t want to move twice. These cold, harsh winters are killing me, I have a list of maladies as long as the East Coast, so I’d prefer to live someplace warm but it’s not exactly easier to find work there. We’re trapped, right where we are, unemployed, and passed over, like yesterday’s mail tossed and disregarded in a pile of junk.

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arr...

English: Photograph of The Beatles as they arrive in New York City in 1964 Français : Photographie de The Beatles, lors de leur arrivée à New York City en 1964 Italiano: Fotografia dei Beatles al loro arrivo a New York City nel 1964 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s time for our sons and daughters to take over the world, we are the leaders no longer. They haven’t yet set us to pasture, we have a little wiggle room, but we are closer to the end then we are to the beginning. Does that feel good? No, it certainly doesn’t. The days turned into years turned into decades, flashing before our eyes as if we stood still and the world moved at a rapid pace around us.

We didn’t realize it was happening until it was over.  When you are young and married you are so involved with your young children and family and play dates and school plays you don’t have time to really hold on to those special moments for too long. Because all the moments are special. Now they are memories, enjoy them.

It’s a rite of passage we all go through. It’s how you look at life that will give you a positive or negative outlook, the choice is totally up to us. I’m not saying it’s easy. Believe me, it isn’t, but realistically we have no choice, no choice at all. Acceptance is a good way to start.

Love

Love (Photo credit: aftab.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply, Jack

Newest Addition

Newest Addition (Photo credit: FrankGuido)

Days go by that seem ordinary, nothing really special seems to happen that you can remember. Maybe, we are just too tied up with our everyday lives to take a breath, and break down our day into moments, seconds, even. I try to do that but more often than not I forget and the days blur together like wet watercolor paintings. Once in a rare while something happens that makes you stop right in your tracks and hits you in the heart and stomach like a wonderful, joyous sucker punch. Yesterday, it was meeting Jack.

Even while I am writing this my eyes tear up and I honestly can’t explain why exactly. Is it that for once something good happened, some miracle answered? That the child I met was so beautiful, angelic, almost ethereal ? I was absolutely honored when I was introduced to her son, Jack. His lovely, pink-cheeked mother, looking exactly as she had years ago, introduced me and Jack held up his hand to shake mine. Something my 19 and 20-year-old children would never think about doing. Was I crying about the miracle of Jack or did it evoke memories of the miracle of my son, a junior in college and daughter, a sophomore in college to me? Each their own miracle and I do not say this lightly.

We had a rough time getting pregnant with our son, two and a half years of infertility treatments, shots, blood tests, ultra-sounds, medication, driving to the hospital at 5:30 am for my blood to be tested, for sonograms, back at night for more blood tests, shots. I did all of this in silence because back in the early nineties, no one talked about infertility. It was a shameful secret. My colleagues, boss, family and friends would make such hurtful comments and jokes all the time about “So, when  are you going to have a baby?” Grandparents were no different but finally we had to tell them; we thought they would be more sensitive but they weren’t. People say remarkably ignorant and cruel things even though that is not their intention. I’ve always watched my words to other people but this cemented it. When we conceived our son it was indeed a miracle. Our daughter, 21 months later, was again, another wonderful miracle. Just as I was about to call the doctor for treatments, I learned I was already pregnant! Now we are blessed with two kind, smart, wonderful young adults, it seems like just a minute ago that they were still young.

Jack’s mom is a kindergarten teacher who worked across the hall from both of my children’s kindergarten’s teacher. When I ran into her yesterday I knew exactly who she was. I am the type of person that never forgets a face. I, of course, thought she had no idea who I was but she stopped me, she remembered me and my name and my children. This time, I was the one who was shocked and incredibly touched. How amazing that she remembered me! How could that be? That was always my role.

Then there was Jack, beautiful, angelic, pale skinned cherub, Jack. I remember he had to fight to live, I think he was premature but I truly can’t remember the details. I just remember there was difficulty and when he was born, even though I didn’t know his mom directly I was euphoric. I was so thrilled that I ran to buy a present for her son to welcome him into the world. It didn’t matter if she knew who I was or not, I didn’t care. As someone known to be sensitive to other people, her joy was mine too.

Seeing her face yesterday was more beautiful than a sculpture, she glowed with happiness and with pride.  I was so touched by her happiness and by young Jack. I thought about it at night and obviously today too. Jack, maybe when you are older your mom will show you this but just know: that as much as everyone loves you know, you were loved by many people before you were even born. It’s like you had your own fan club waiting for you, every single day.  We crossed our fingers, we said our prayers because your mom is such a special and warm person we knew she deserved a boy exactly like you.

Dedicated to JP and Jack.

Photograh: credit to photographer

words and lyrics by John Lennon

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The Sweet Scent Of A Perfect Peach

Helianthus annuus (Sunflower). Taken at garden...

Image via Wikipedia

In my imagination I think we would be friends if only we lived closer together. I would give her, and only her, the true secret ingredient to my super moist banana chip/raisin bread. Her mouth would smile widely and crumbs would spill happily from her mouth as she ate it with delight; her big doe eyes would nod in agreement. I can’t compete with her cooking of course, she was born baking and cooking but there is no competition between friends. We laugh together at my lack of cooking skills and she constantly admonishes me and tells me she will force me to learn. Knowing her, I have a feeling, she will make me follow through.

On the side of her house I imagine her large garden where she picks her own deep, red  tomatoes from the vine and takes a big bite of one warmed by the sun. She has sunflowers, big tall, brown, vibrant orange and yellow, about fifty of them, near the rows of green peas and lettuce and carrots hiding in the moist soil. Next to them, sweet butter corn  grows tall and stretches to the sun like a morning yoga pose. Wildflowers grow nearby, purple, yellow, pink, white and the blue of a delicate robin’s egg. There are so many vibrant and intense colors in her garden, it’s like staring at a painting by Matisse.

I’ve never had the actual opportunity to meet an idol, someone I’ve cherished since I was a teenager, but I came close, by association, a few weeks ago. I spoke with her warm and friendly assistant and it was such a pleasure. Melissa, her assistant, told me something I will always remember. “She liked your writing and wants you in HER group.”  That lifted my spirits for days. While I could not go to the current workshop she was holding I hope one day to meet her and attend a different workshop.

I read her first book about one hundred times; a book that still sits on my living room shelf now,  forty years later. I share my house with my husband, a son who is soon off to college for the first time, a daughter who will now be a senior in high school and a nine-year old adopted shelter dog named Callie who is sleeping on top of my feet. That first book has been carted from my parents’ apartment to college to every city I have lived in.  We grew up together, she and I, for a forty-year time period, she just didn’t know me.

There’s no doubt in my mind, from her first magazine article in the New York Times that she would grow up to be an amazingly talented, gifted writer. True to herself and her family and friends. She grew as a writer and as a person, I wonder if people expected her to stay nineteen and if that was hard for her? We all change and grow, make mistakes, learn; stagnant is boring.

I think she would be warm and funny, intense about her work and friendly, she probably just baked apple muffins with a crumb topping and served it with sun tea. There’s a colorful tiled table that holds chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies that she whipped up in a spare hour;  sharp, white cheddar cheese and crispy pita chips would be nearby. Family and friends are always invited to her kitchen; there are always people and animals nearby.

I imagine sitting on a large white patio, rocking slowly on our rocking chairs and exchanging whispered secrets and watching the red sunset fall slowly into the water to form three lines of color, orange, dark green, ultimately black. I remember when my family and I used to go to Cape Cod, when our kids were much younger, at every sunset we would sit on the sand, other people around us, and we would wait for the sun to set. When it did, everyone clapped. That is my idea of heaven, living near the ocean, watching the sunset with strangers sharing stories, listening to Reggae music provided for free. Sitting still in front of nature as if we were in a theater waiting for the curtain to rise.

At night, in my imagination, we would creep down the stairs and meet in the kitchen unplanned. We would burst into giggles when we found out we were there for the very same thing.  I always snack after I am supposed to be asleep and I eyed a bowl of ripe peaches on a small, round table that she had recently repainted in pink-rose paint. That first bite of that juicy peach would make me happy, so happy I  can’t even describe it. This peach, this wonderful gift from nature was just perfect. It was ripe, juicy, sweet and had a silken texture. The juice rolled down my chin and I groaned with every bite of happiness. It was the sweet scent of a perfect peach with my new friend, laughing into the dark night.

Dedicated to Joyce Maynard and Melissa

If I Had One Hour in a Time Machine… (Plinky Prompt)

Strawberry ice cream in a cone.

Image via Wikipedia

Looking Back, Way Back

I would head back to my childhood, to my past. Life was simple, four best friends played together every afternoon and our only choice to make was what type of ice cream cone we would buy. Everything seemed perfect back then. Our moms were all near-by but in my time machine, the dads would be there too, all of them being kind and supportive. There was no problem back then without a solution. If you skinned your knee, someone would have a band-aid. We celebrated our youngest friend’s effort to ride a 2-wheeler; her blond hair wispy around her little face. I still see that image in my mind today. We were on the street corner across from Gussie’s candy and ice cream store. We skateboarded and roller-skated, played hand ball or jumped rope or hopped our way through hopscotch. “The Moms” would talk happily and if they were complaining about anything, we never knew. When it was time for dinner, we would all head back to our own apartments. Claudine and Roger in one building, Glen and I in another. We all ate dinner, usually at someone else’s house. When woke up in the morning, we headed to school together and knew that at 3:00pm, we would be right back where we were the day before. Together.

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